After limited progress has been made on a £100m development in the town, Southend Council has explored options to take back control of the landmark seafront site.
Council officers have been instructed to look into the compulsory purchase of the site, Marine Plaza, which was granted planning permission in 2015 and underwent demolition on the previous buildings but has not seen any further progress made by the developers.
The development was set to include 282 apartments, restaurants, cafes and bars overlooking one of Southend’s seafront tourist areas.
Cllr Ron Woodley, Deputy Leader of Southend Council, said no further delays by the developer were to be tolerated and the council was to consider finding a new developer to push on with the plans, seen as a key opportunity to regenerate the site.
The council, Cllr Woodley explained, was also proposing lobbying to Government to recoup lost council tax revenue as a result of the delays to the site, equating to more than £4m.
He said: “I have already spoken to officers about this and asked them to start preparing themselves for the preparation of a compulsory purchase order if the developer doesn’t start Marine Plaza by the end of the year as promised.
“We would have to apply to the Government to do this but if we are successful, I would invite another developer in to fulfil the plans.
“The average Band-D home costs £2,000 council tax a year. There are nearly 300 homes in this scheme so it you multiply the number of homes and over the seven years we have lost it is more than £4million.
“I have written to the Government saying we should be able to charge developers council tax if they fail to deliver. Across the country there are 1.1million homes waiting to be built.”