Imagine Southend! Part Two: The Seafront Site Default June 5, 2015 Local Business, Seaside, Southend Imagine – It’s half-term. You put the kids in the car and you head for the seaside. But as you pull up at the seafront the clouds gather, the wind gets up, English weather! Going home. “English Seaside” by HammerHead (2010) Maybe the day’s passable and you endure it, maybe it’s even nice. The bathers set out to swim to be met by the disgusting feel of silt squidging between their toes… it is silt, isn’t it…? Maybe give going in the sea a miss then… Now imagine if there were were huge under-cover solarium areas. One in each area: Chalkwell, Westcliff, Southend and Thorpe Bay, 2 quoins wide. Maybe a themed approach with, for example: Chalkwell – solarium based with beauty treatment theme Westcliff & Southend – family based with paddling pools and more kiddy facilities Thorpe Bay – Adults only with more formal attire and facilities Imagine them to have heated, from solar power, a swimming pool and a paddling pool with surrounding patios, sunbeds as seen on beaches on the continent – the sun would still be bathe-able in during the Winter even with a little help from the retractable glass roof. And retail outlets – not just an entrance but also refreshments, sunbed hire, maybe beauty treatments and massage – and all trading with visitors it now knows it can rely on getting. Visitors that might otherwise not have come to Southend at all. Visitors that might have gone elsewhere. Visitors that will now be spending time – and money – in Southend. And local jobs for local people. Providing the facilities in the first place, manning them, maintaining them, refurbishing them periodically… And widening the appeal of the town. Putting it on the leisure map. Meaning still more visitors in years to come. Maybe those visitors might shop here, eat here, see shows here and return here. The opportunities go on… Of course would need to be tastefully done. The promenade would have to extend around its outside to continue the pleasure for promenaders. And it would need to be able to weather the storms and tides. And Health & Safety issues should be full addressed – lifeguards present, etc. But it would extend the visitor opportunity beyond nice days to include not only cloudy days, rainy days, not only the full tourist season from May to October – but the whole year! It would quickly become the go-to place for swimming entertainment for kids and adults alike as well as bathers. Combine this project with the Pier project in Part 1 and Southend would have few rivals in the UK. Everyone would benefit: Local Businesses, Local People, the UK and Southend Borough Council. We would truly be proud of our town. Add it to the plan… let’s imagine it… Then let’s make it happen!!