WORKS to regenerate Dovercourt’s town centre have left an unwelcome eyesore for visitors and passers-by.

Work has begun for the development of a new car park, event space and public toilets on a derelict site, which formerly housed the Starlings garage and Queens Head Hotel.

The site, off High Street, is the subject of a £1.5million plan to revitalise the town centre, having been left in a state for many years after a fire.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: The site, off High Street, is an eyesoreThe site, off High Street, is an eyesore

Tendring Council purchased the area after complex negotiations last year and cleared it.

However, hoardings which covered it have now been taken down in areas, exposing the mess for all to see.

District councillor Ivan Henderson has now called for the boards to be put back up so High Street isn’t dragged down.

He said: “It’s really good news the council are going to put the investment into the area and has made money available in the budget to complete the work.

“They have started work on the site, but parts of the hoarding which fronts the town centre has been taken down, exposing a right mess.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: The former Starlings siteThe former Starlings site

“I’ve had many residents contact me calling on the council to tidy the whole area.

“Not only residents but visitors to our area are going to be walking along the high street and it is a complete mess. We cannot leave it like that throughout summer.

“Tendring Council now own this land and we expect it to be tidied – it’s a mess.

“I would like to see the project as a whole completed by Christmas, so we can have our first Christmas market, with features and lights to bring the site to life.

“In the meantime, it could even do with an artist’s impression to show what’s going to go there, displaying the design so people know this is temporary and it will be completed.”

Tendring Council spokesman Will Lodge said work was progressing well on the former Starlings site.

He said: “Following a public consultation earlier in the year, we anticipate a planning application being made for redevelopment of the site in the next few weeks.

“Our stated ambition has always been to have the site completed early in the new year and though we, of course, hope to finish the project sooner than this, the programme has been extended to allow for the current national supply chain issues in securing building materials and the impact of Covid-19.

“While hoardings and Heras fencing surround the Starlings site, we understand this derelict site is unsightly and has a negative visual impact on the town centre.

“Subject to planning permission, it is hoped over the coming eight months the site will be transformed into a valued community asset providing events space, surface car parking and landscaping which will create an attractive space in the town.”

Mr Henderson is standing for election to Essex County Council.

Other candidates include Simon Godfrey Banks (Lib Dem) and Ricardo Callender (Con).