ADVENTURE Island boss Philip Miller MBE said his family business will become “extinct” if a £50million cinema complex goes-ahead in Southend.

The prominent businessman - executive chairman of the Stockvale Group, which includes Adventure Island, Sea Life Adventure and the restaurant Clarence Yard - has dispatched an open letter to every councillor and the Echo.

He is concerned the huge development planned for the Seaway car park, off Lucy Road, will destroy his livelihood - and further damage High Street trade.

He states: “If this scheme was allowed to happen it would lead to the extinction of my family business.

“The town’s hotels would suffer a downturn as well.

“It’s not the development we are against, after all it’s the council’s property they can fill it up with strip joints if they want.

“The reason we are so adamantly against is it will lead to the extinction of our business. If you take away our car parking you cut off our oxygen simple as that, ninety percent of our customers visit by car.

“In comparison Festival Leisure Park in Basildon has in excess of 2,000 spaces and still gets overrun, so if built Seaway will reduce to 555 car parking spaces from the existing 661, even with that number and it can’t keep up.

“We are a bit like shops at Christmas. They need every penny they can take to see them through the rest of the year.”

He believes the plan will further hurt the surrounding area too.

He said: “Adventure Island feeds the high street as well as the seafront whereas this development will not.

“It really is a case of them or us?

“The Kursaal has already thrown in the towel, the Odeon have said they will close if it happens thereby killing off businesses at the North End of the High Street, a bit of a tale of devastation all in the name of progress? ”

Developer Turnstone Estates is hoping to get planning permission by January to turn the car park off Lucy Road into an 11-screen IMAX Empire Cinema, 20-lane Hollywood Bowl, 80-bed Travelodge Hotel, restaurants and a new public square, with 555 car parking spaces in a new multi-storey building.

Development bosses have spoken out and wholeheartedly disagree with Mr Miller’s views.

The council is expected to discuss awarding planning permission at a special development control committee meeting.

That is expected to happen before Christmas.

Council leader Ian Gilbert said: “The details of this were all agreed in February, the positions regarding the development remain the same.

“This is now a matter that has to be resolved on planning grounds.”

The scheme has been controversial due to loss of parking spaces.