Seaway Project

What is the Seaway project?

The Seaway Leisure scheme is a proposed private-sector led development of a cinema, hotel, restaurants, leisure space and car parking on the site of the current council-owned Seaway car park.


As part of the Southend Central Area Action Plan (SCAAP), the Seaway car park was identified for redevelopment for a high quality mixed-use leisure scheme.

In 2012, Turnstone Estates contacted us on behalf of Cineworld plc, who were looking for a 4 acre site in Essex to develop a cinema and leisure scheme. Cineworld had previously identified Southend-on-Sea as an appropriate location and engaged Turnstone Estates to bring a scheme forwards.

A report was then considered by Economic and Environmental scrutiny committee on 29 November 2012 before being presented to Cabinet on 8th January 2013 (minute 637). Cabinet agreed that we should enter into a conditional contract with Turnstone for the development of Seaway car park. The decision was noted by the Economic and Environmental scrutiny committee on 31 January 2013 (minute 744) and then by Full Council on 28th February 2013.(minute 890 and minute 916).

We and Turnstone Estates then entered into detailed negotiations and following independent ‘best consideration certification’ in accordance with s.123 of the Local Government Act 1972, we and Turnstone entered into an agreement for lease and sale on 10 December 2014. This was reported to Cabinet on 6th January 2015.

This agreement prescribes conditions which must be met by both parties before a lease is granted. At the current time the lease has not been granted.

In early 2015, Cineworld unfortunately withdrew from the scheme. The delivery of the scheme was therefore delayed whilst Turnstone secured a new cinema anchor tenant. Turnstone has now contracted with Empire Cinemas to provide a cinema and has an IMAX licence in place.

The current position

A planning application (application reference 18/02302/BC4M) was submitted on Friday 7 December 2018. This will now go through the formal planning process and will be considered separately from the land ownership position. There will be a statutory consultation and members of the public and all stakeholders will be able to comment on the proposals. The details of the application are available to view on the planning portal.  

A detailed report was considered by the council’s cabinet on Thursday 17 January 2019. You can read the report and minutes on our democracy pages (minute 605).

It was also discussed at the Policy and Resources scrutiny committee on Thursday 31 January 2019. You can read a number of detailed supporting documents relating to the project on our democracy pages.

The matter was also debated at Full Council on 21 February 2019 where Councillors voted 34:12 to note the report and the recommendations made in it.

Page last updated: 29/03/2019