A NEW beachfront cafe with sweeping estuary views could open next summer at Shoebury East Beach, it has been revealed.

Southend Council has been working on plans for one or two new cafes on the councilowned site on Shoebury East Beach after losing patience with the former leaseholder.

The council exercised its legal right to take back the lease last year after plans for a waterside restaurant failed to materialise.

In November, the council suggested up to three kiosks could be accommodated on the site of the original cafe which burnt down more than 13 years ago.

The authority has since been weighing up the options and liaising with residents before going ahead with plans for at least one cafe.

Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, said: “Plans are being drawn up to develop the old cafe site with one or two cafes.

“We’re not quite sure yet but I have said I want it up and running by next summer.

“Either the council will build it and let it out or someone else might build it but I prefer that we build it because it will bring in revenue for us.”

The work will form part of plans to tidy up the area and install better lighting in East Beach car park, used both by visitors and commuters using nearby Shoebury train station.

Mr Woodley added: “We recognise that East Beach has been neglected for a long time.

“We want to resurface the car park and add a new path from the car park to the High Street so there will be a lit path to the station.

“We have the windsurfers there and the boats that come in and go out so this will complete the whole package and make the whole thing more attractive.”

A survey in December asked residents to decide whether they would like to see a cafe or restaurant, or a mix of facilities which could include a community hub which would sell food and drink.

The council has not so far had good fortune when it comes to opening new cafes. A refurbished Pier Hill unit lay empty for some years before the council took it over and opened it as a café.

It closed shortly afterwards and remains shut.

The Glasshouse cafe in Warrior Square suffered a similar fate, with the council initially struggling to find an operator.