DEVELOPERS who want to convert a seafront pub into plush flats are set to sell the site after a “frustrating” four year battle with council planners.


Redab Properties, the Swedish firm behind the application to demolish the Esplanade pub in Western Esplanade, Southend, bought the site in 2013. Its managing director says he has now “fallen out of love with Southend”.


The firm gained planning permission for 23 apartments on the seafront site in 2016 after a previous application for 24 flats was refused in 2015.


The plans included shoring up part of the cliff slippage - but the company has been unable to finalise details with Southend Council planners. Bosses told how they no longer have the enthusiasm to proceed with the scheme.


Work was due to finally start in the Autumn to avoid disruption for seafront traders, but the future of the redevelopment is now in question.


Colin Felton, spokesman for Redab said: “I can confirm Redab is in discussion with other developers with a view to selling the site. managing director CG Peterson has said he is no longer in love with Southend and can no longer do battle with planners.


“He is very disappointed with the way he feels he has been treated . It’s been a frustrating experience. Southend is no longer an area for development because it is too difficult to work in that environment. There is only so much you can do.”


The firm, which spent more than £400,000 on planning fees, had agreed to spend over £1million towards shoring up the cliffs behind the five-storey block, which is prone to slippage.


It is details of how that would be done which appear to have been a stumbling block - with Redab claiming the council disagreed with what was needed to make the development safe.


Mr Felton added: “At the moment the building is an eyesore on the seafront. It has taken all these years and in fact nothing has changed with our plans but it has been a constant and very difficult battle.


“Redab are now no longer committed to working in partnership with Southend. They’ve just lost the impetus to go on with it. The synergy is no longer there.”


Mark Flewitt, councillor responsible for housing, planning and sustainability, said: “The planning application for the site was approved on April 5, 2016, subject to a number of conditions that would have to be met before construction could start.


“The developer has not discharged some of these conditions and so construction cannot start.”