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Seafront eyesore finally cleared
A SEAFRONT vista has opened up for some Southend residents after the demolition of a derelict eyesore.
Heaps of concrete and twisted metal are now all that remains of ghost office block Esplanade House, which blighted Eastern Esplanade for more than five years.
Judith McMahon, Labour councillor for Kursaal, in which the site lies, said: “From the rear of the property in Arnold Avenue it has made a substantial difference.
“The vista they now have is wonderful – they now look directly on to the sea.”
Property developer the Robert Leonard Group agreed to knock down the eyesore after Premier Inn got the green light to build a new hotel on the former gasworks site next door in September, which the firm also owns.
Long-armed demolition machines began tearing at the eastern end of the steel and concrete shell as scaffolding went up at the western end at the start of November.
Diggers are now clearing the final pieces of rubble.
Bulldozers part-demolished the building in 2008 so the Robert Leonard Group could use a loophole to avoid paying business rates on the site.
The Premier Inn, which will create 65 jobs, could be built by the end of this year.
The council also gave the Robert Leonard Group more time to start work on its long-dormant plans for a separate hotel, restaurant, shops, 216 flats and 50 affordable homes on the Esplanade House site in September.
But councillors only allowed the firm two years – rather than the three it requested – to begin building the 64-bed hotel, four blocks of flats and affordable homes.
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