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Atkins wins casino go-ahead after massive cost hike and redesign

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Atkins' redesigned proposals for a massive new casino project in Southend-on Sea, Essex, have been given the green light.

The £100 million mixed-use Marine Plaza development - which has shot up in cost by £30 million since it was first unveiled in May last year (AJ 26.05.05, see bottom image) - will transform the eastern end of the seaside resort's 'golden mile.'

As well as creating a new casino, the scheme will boast a new 100-room hotel, conference facilities, a nightclub, bars, bistros and 126 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

According to the practice, the development will complement the scale and massing of the existing late-Victorian Kursaal Casino, which is next to the Atkins scheme.

Project director Charlie Kelly, who worked alongside former Foster and Partners high-flyer Tom Gent on the scheme, said: 'Atkins, and local partner Dedman Planning and Regeneration, are delighted to be able to bring global design experience to create a landmark building of the highest quality.

'The seafront elevation of Marine Plaza will contain a series of restaurants and bistros, with tables and chairs spilling out onto the pavement and balconies overlooking the sea, enhancing the continental ambience.'

The development will fit into a masterplan of the seafront area drawn up by EDAW.

by Richard Waite

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