A DECISION on a new £50million cinema complex could be made by the end of the month.

Councillors are due to decide whether to approve the plans at a meeting on November 27.

Turnstone Estates plan to turn the council-owned Seaway car park into a major new leisure development, complete with an IMAX cinema, a bowling alley and a climbing wall, along with restaurants.

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Supporters point to the 500 jobs and £15million income for Southend.

Critics claim the loss of parking spaces and impact on Southend’s heritage, environment and town centre will be negative.

Deputy leader Ron Woodley said: “If this is refused then the developer would, like everyone else have the right to appeal it and if that takes place, we would have to hold any decision on terminating the contract until that has been upheld or refused.”

A deal between the council and developer to redevelop the car park is due to run out in February.

Councillor Woodley added: “If the committee approves it then I suspect some of those who oppose it such as the Stockvale Group [which runs Adventure Island] or seafront traders may want a judicial review and that would also take time and again that would put it on hold, with the council unable to do anything until after a review has taken place.”

The development will include 555 parking spaces, down from 660 spaces.

It is being supported by Southend’s Business Improvement District.

Manager Suzanne Gloyne revealed a survey found 63 per cent support among the 183 members which responded.

She said: “The results spoke for themselves and on that basis, Southend BID came out in support of the Seaway development.

“We view this as a major investment in Southend and one that will potentially create hundreds of jobs and extend the town’s leisure offer to local residents and visitors from further afield. We are, of course, aware of the sensitivities surrounding the Seaway scheme but hope any lasting concerns can be quickly resolved and the work finally allowed to get underway.”