Sealife plans now back on after rethink

New plans - an impression of how the Sealife Centre may look

New plans - an impression of how the Sealife Centre may look

First published in Echo News

PLANS to house penguins, crocodiles and seals in a new enclosure at Southend’s Sealife Adventure centre are back on after a controversial design was dropped.

Southend Council looks set to back plans to extend the aquarium in Eastern Esplanade to house the new creatures after special “rainbow”

cladding, that reflects light in different colours, was dropped from the design.

Councillors branded the cladding, which would have masked the centre’s iconic pitched roofs as well as covered the extension, “disgraceful”

and sent owner the Stockvale Group back to the drawing board in April.

They also feared the extension over an informal staff car park and former crazy golf course to the east, which would be half the size of a football pitch, could spoil the nearby Eastern Esplanade Conservation Area, which protects the heritage of mid-19th century fishermen’s cottages.

But Stockvale, which also owns Adventure Island, seafront restaurant Sands and the Three Shells Beach Cafe, has resubmitted plans with the pitched roofs exposed and light blue cladding, similar to the existing building.

Planning officers have recommended councillors back the new scheme, which Stockvale hopes will boost last year’s 156,000 visitor numbers by a third and create 20 more jobs.

In a statement on Adventure Island’s Facebook page, the Stockvale Group said: “We are getting very excited about our planned extension.

“Our planning application is being decided on the June 11 and we should soon be bringing you the exciting news that we will be starting work.

“As well as giving you more exhibits, the new extension will help us promote our conservation message, and provide new jobs for Southend.”

Customers backed the revamp on the social networking site, with Andy Skinner saying: “Looks great, good luck,” and Katie Simpson said: “This colour is much better! Good luck guys.”

Danny Mcgill said: “Hope you get this, it needs to be bigger.

“Come on Southend Council, do something good for once.”

Deputy council leader Graham Longley said: “What we are looking for, as always for tourism, is facilities and developments which benefit the town.

“From that point of view, one welcomes people who put money into the town and make effort to improve what visitors might be able to go and see.”

Developers Stockvale have resubmitted plans with pitched roofs now exposed ý New plans – an impression of how the Sealife Centre may look ý Much-cherished – the 19th century fishermen’s cottages

Comments (9)

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7:55am Mon 9 Jun 14

ROBOTS' REBELLION says...

Caging seals is wrong. We have seals off westcliff - free and beautiful. Now sea life want to pen seals in and that's ugly - all because of one mans greed. One man cashing in on another creatures suffering. Greed. Greed. Greed. What service to humanity is actually taking place here. None whatsoever.
Caging seals is wrong. We have seals off westcliff - free and beautiful. Now sea life want to pen seals in and that's ugly - all because of one mans greed. One man cashing in on another creatures suffering. Greed. Greed. Greed. What service to humanity is actually taking place here. None whatsoever. ROBOTS' REBELLION
  • Score: 10

8:14am Mon 9 Jun 14

VeteranOfMany says...

They should stick with a few fish in tanks, hemming in seals is disgusting, the greed and exploitation makes a mockery of the whole point of this Godforsaken place.
They should stick with a few fish in tanks, hemming in seals is disgusting, the greed and exploitation makes a mockery of the whole point of this Godforsaken place. VeteranOfMany
  • Score: 10

8:37am Mon 9 Jun 14

Joe Clark says...

I though I read that there will also be facilities to nurse I injured and sick seals back to health so that they can be released back in to the wild, anyhow just get it built the facilities would give Southend a real boost.
I though I read that there will also be facilities to nurse I injured and sick seals back to health so that they can be released back in to the wild, anyhow just get it built the facilities would give Southend a real boost. Joe Clark
  • Score: 0

9:24am Mon 9 Jun 14

ROBOTS' REBELLION says...

I hardly think extending the sealife centre would "give Southend a real boost". I'm happy with a non-profit making seal hospital, with limited public access, in a controlled environment - and not attached to a greed business. The idea of a hospital is merely a stockdale tactic. I dobt the demand is there for a hospital at all.
I hardly think extending the sealife centre would "give Southend a real boost". I'm happy with a non-profit making seal hospital, with limited public access, in a controlled environment - and not attached to a greed business. The idea of a hospital is merely a stockdale tactic. I dobt the demand is there for a hospital at all. ROBOTS' REBELLION
  • Score: 3

11:07am Mon 9 Jun 14

jayman says...

Joe Clark wrote:
I though I read that there will also be facilities to nurse I injured and sick seals back to health so that they can be released back in to the wild, anyhow just get it built the facilities would give Southend a real boost.
how many proclaimed 'boosts' has southend had already? southend should be anchored off Madagascar by now with the sheer number of 'press friendly' financially exhaustive 'boosts; I believe that this is less of a boost and more of a shoulder barge into a dark alley where southends purse and identity will be stolen.
[quote][p][bold]Joe Clark[/bold] wrote: I though I read that there will also be facilities to nurse I injured and sick seals back to health so that they can be released back in to the wild, anyhow just get it built the facilities would give Southend a real boost.[/p][/quote]how many proclaimed 'boosts' has southend had already? southend should be anchored off Madagascar by now with the sheer number of 'press friendly' financially exhaustive 'boosts; I believe that this is less of a boost and more of a shoulder barge into a dark alley where southends purse and identity will be stolen. jayman
  • Score: -1

2:24pm Mon 9 Jun 14

emcee says...

Crocodiles need a lot of room, penguins and seals need a huge amount of room. Provision for all three cannot be acheived in such a small building, even with the proposed extension, unless the business has adopted a "cram 'em in" solution.
It sounds to me that this is all just a money making, sideshow, gimmick. Visitors will probably be promised a fantastic new attraction with huge colonies of penguins in a fabulous, climate controlled, Antarctic enclosure and a large colony of seals in a beautiful rocky landscape when, in reality, and within the restraints of the building, visitors would see half a dozen penguins, four penned in seals and single croc stuck in the corner somewhere.
I hope it does not turn out like this but I still dread that I could be correct.
Crocodiles need a lot of room, penguins and seals need a huge amount of room. Provision for all three cannot be acheived in such a small building, even with the proposed extension, unless the business has adopted a "cram 'em in" solution. It sounds to me that this is all just a money making, sideshow, gimmick. Visitors will probably be promised a fantastic new attraction with huge colonies of penguins in a fabulous, climate controlled, Antarctic enclosure and a large colony of seals in a beautiful rocky landscape when, in reality, and within the restraints of the building, visitors would see half a dozen penguins, four penned in seals and single croc stuck in the corner somewhere. I hope it does not turn out like this but I still dread that I could be correct. emcee
  • Score: 8

6:53pm Mon 9 Jun 14

John Right says...

Cant beat a nice bit of fresh fish
Cant beat a nice bit of fresh fish John Right
  • Score: 0

9:23pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Life in a seaside town says...

How did they get this planning application through to committee so quick. Normally it takes at lest 8 weeks. Does make you wonder who purse is filled or is it just the bigger you are or the louder you shout.
How did they get this planning application through to committee so quick. Normally it takes at lest 8 weeks. Does make you wonder who purse is filled or is it just the bigger you are or the louder you shout. Life in a seaside town
  • Score: 1

5:53pm Tue 10 Jun 14

ebee47 says...

We don't want penguins, crocodiles and seals 'housed' or caged or penned on the seafront just to make a few more bucks for Stockvale. They have a cafe and Adventure Island, leave animals alone.
Ebee
We don't want penguins, crocodiles and seals 'housed' or caged or penned on the seafront just to make a few more bucks for Stockvale. They have a cafe and Adventure Island, leave animals alone. Ebee ebee47
  • Score: 0

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