With temperatures hitting 20 degrees and higher in the last few weeks, a spokesperson for Southend Borough Council has confirmed that the area of amusement arcades, gift shops and other tourist attractions will be sold off to private developers for housing as the resort is becoming too expensive to police. According to the proposals, all non-housing properties between Pier Hill and The Kursaal will be ‘compulsory purchased’ by the winter of 2016, and an invitation to ‘express interest’ has been sent to all of the UK’s major generic single-style new build housing development companies.
The council spokesperson said: ‘The recent warm weather and the influx of tourists have created a massive headache for local government, and it has been confirmed that a small area with thousands of people walking around needs more two police officers and a handful of authority figures in pretty polo shirts – we have been told that we will need to foot the bill for any additional police presence. We don’t blame local police for the current situation, but things came to a head on Sunday morning when a group of 90 dogging enthusiasts were able to hold a full meeting in the Seaway car park as nobody was around to stop them. In a perfect world, we would be able to find uniformed patrols in the area, but budgets are tight.’
He added: ‘The future for Southend Seafront is bright and exciting. We estimate that around 10,000 new apartments will be built in the Golden Mile Luxury Living Resort, and this will help to soften the blow of the five lost parking spaces in Seaway. New housing will bring new convenience supermarkets – this is something that we currently lack in the town. By removing the draw of tourism from the seafront, people will also gradually forget that we ever had an Airshow here, and that can only be a good thing for the area.’