A landmark Southend building, which closed its doors in April, is unlikely to open soon though talks are underway, a councillor has said.

The Kursaal bowling alley and play area shut its doors in April and there is little sign of it opening any time soon.

However, Kevin Robinson, councillor responsible for business, culture and tourism, said discussions had taken place over the listed building’s future.

He said: “We want the building back in public use as soon as possible as a prime feature along the seafront.

“The leaseholder is discussing ideas with the council but there is not a large amount of detail, so we are waiting to see what the leaseholder wants to do.

“We are keeping a close eye on it but it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. Our view is that it has to remain in the leisure environment. We wouldn’t be proposing any other activity.”

The historic building is owned by Southend Council but leased to Disco Bowl Southend.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for the environment and planning, said the building would be protected.

She said: “The Kursaal is a listed building so if it deteriorated the council as a planning authority could take some action.

“It comes with quite a bit of protection. If the council was to become aware it had stated to dilapidate considerably we could take action.”

With multi-storey flats in the nearby Marine Plaza development set to go up and threatening to dwarf the Kursaal, other traders hope to see it reopen soon as part of the town’s proud seaside history, but economic pressures are affecting it.

Paul Thompson, a member of the Southend Seafront Traders’ Association, said: “The Kursaal is an iconic building and it would be nice to see it opening but it’s down to whether a viable business can be be run from there.

“Business rates and car parking are the ongoing problems.

“All businesses are feeling it at the moment.”

Southend resident, Sarah Jones, 58, said: “It is very sad to see that the main part of this lovely old building is going to waste.

“We have to hang on to historic buildings like this and find good use for them, albeit in a modern environment. We can’t just stand by and see another Seafront building go to ruin. Before you know it, the vandals will take over and it could be lost forever.

“I’d hate to see it end up nothing more than a picture in a history book.”