WORK has begun to demolish a seafront pub to pave the way for a multi-million pound development.

Demolition of Foresters Arms in Southend has begun to make way for the £100million Marine Plaza seafront scheme.

Planning permission was granted in 2015 for Inner London Group to build 282 flats along with shops and restaurants on the landmark seafront site opposite the Kursaal.

The pub closed at the end of June after repeated notices by the developers that the business had to vacate the land.

Larry Fenttiman, director of the company, said the demolition is set to last for around three weeks, but the car park on the site will remain open “until the last minute” to accommodate summer seafront trade.

He said: “The main point now is all those on the site have now vacated, and work is underway.

“We expect for there to be demolition for this month, and then for us to be on site for the last quarter of this year.

“The main body of work we will be doing is installing the foundations, utilities and drainage to the site, as all that must be completed before anything can be built.

“We expect this to go into the first half of next year too. But we hope that by the second half of next year people will start to see some buildings taking shape.”

The plans stalled after being hit by the gloomy economic climate in recent years, but the company secured a construction partner to provide a £60 million boost and allow the scheme to get off the ground.

The 282 homes across six buildings, will range in height from four to 14 storeys.

A central courtyard is also planned.

Mr Fenttiman added: “These things will always take time. There are people’s livelihoods involved and there were always going to be challenges. We wanted to start earlier but the Foresters were still there, and we couldn’t do any work while they were there because of health and safety reasons. But things are moving now.”