A report to be discussed by cabinet later this week will highlight further progress on the Seaway project (Item 4, Cabinet, 1 July).
The report follows on from the November 2021 decision to put an annuity lease structure in place with Turnstone, so that the development could be funded securely and enable delivery. It recommends that this is documented via a new set of documents rather than a further variation being made to the existing documents. This will be more attractive to the funding market.
Cllr Ian Gilbert, cabinet member for economic recovery, regeneration and housing, says: “This update report shows how this important project is now moving forwards and demonstrates that despite rising inflation and costs, the private sector and Turnstone are still committed to this project that will deliver a year-round destination in our new City, create new jobs, encourage more people into our city centre and seafront, and be a major boost the local economy. I am pleased that it is moving forward.”
The report also highlights that due to inflation, the value of the project could rise up to £70m, with Turnstone set to invest £0.5m into the next phase of the project and move towards delivery. This does not affect the council's proposed investment into the scheme, which as previously agreed by the council, is up to £10m and subject to financial viability.
Cllr Paul Collins, cabinet member for asset management and inward investment, says: “Whilst this is a technical report, it shows the project is moving forwards despite all the difficult economic circumstances and shows that this is a City to invest in. This will remove old drafting which is unnecessary and ensure that a clean and current set of documents is ready for the funding market
“In December 2021, the council agreed to invest up to £10m of its reserves to secure a much higher level of ownership with higher returns and to ensure the project is delivered with all its associated benefits, including over 500 new jobs, significant private investment, flagship new leisure facilities in central Southend, and £15m per year of associated spend in the area. This investment will secure a long-term sustainable income stream for the council. I want to be very clear that this report is not proposing any further investment by the Council, and is merely confirming a set of clean legal documents to progress the scheme into its next phase.”