A RUNDOWN seafront shelter will be turned into a vibrant, modern cafe after Southend Council gave planning permission for the £300,000 scheme.

Councillors on the development control committee voted to allow the development, which will see the creation of 12 permanent jobs in the cafe.

It will open from 8am to 11pm from Monday to Saturday.

They welcomed the development of the shelter, which had been unused for a number of years and fell into disrepair after years of use by drunks and homeless people.

Antonia Waite, daughter of former Tory council leader Anna Waite, was awarded the lease for the cafe – provisionally called Seaside Rock – and now planning has been approved, she hopes to start building in late summer.

Judith McMahon, Labour councillor for Kursaal, said: “I would like to commend this particular conversion, it is the most empathetic use of the building and is absolutely superb.

“We should be very pleased and it will add a lot to Southend, both with its design and with it being in keeping with the local area.”

The grass area in front of the cafe will include openair seating, with the possibility of music – such as violin performances – while people eat.

About 42 people would be accommodated in the new cafe at any one time.

In a report to the committee, the council’s planning officers said: “The proposed development would contribute to the visitor and tourist-related facilities at the seafront, and would enhance the attraction of the seafront.

“This proposal to convert the existing seafront shelter into a cafe should provide a renewed lease of life for this historic building and is welcomed in principle.”

The planning officers’ report added it was pleasing to see the existing steel windows are to be overhauled and repaired to ensure such a key feature of the building will survive and continue to play an important role in retaining the character of the building.