Porters Place Southend-on-Sea LLP - a joint venture between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Swan Housing Association - has submitted a ‘hybrid’ planning application for the £500 million Better Queensway regeneration project. The application will be determined by the Council’s Development Control Committee in the coming months. This hybrid application will establish the principle of regenerating the site and the overall masterplan, as well as the details of the highway changes. Over the lifetime of the project, Porters Place LLP will submit a number of further detailed planning applications for the various phases of development.
Should the plans be approved, the four tower blocks that form the current Queensway estate would be demolished in stages and replaced with a high-quality development of up to 1,760 modern new homes, all of which will have their own private outdoor space whether it be a balcony, terrace or garden. The development will also create attractive new public space and improved links to the town centre for those travelling from nearby streets.
The plans include new homes for all secure tenants and leaseholders currently living on the estate, as well as additional new affordable housing for Southend-on-Sea and homes for private sale aimed at local buyers.
The LLP will deliver 512 genuinely affordable homes with a mix of 300 social rented homes and 212 intermediate units (shared equity and shared ownership). The 300 social rented and 12 shared equity homes will be delivered through a planning agreement and 200 shared ownership homes through the contractual commitment in the approved business plan. The Council and Swan are also intending to deliver an additional 100 genuinely affordable homes through a separate contractual agreement.
The estate would be managed from a new central concierge with CCTV, ground maintenance and concierge staff on hand, eliminating residents’ current issues with the estate not being fit for purpose.
There would be safe play areas created for children and additional ’pocket parks’ to provide safe and enjoyable key walking routes for all, creative spaces to encourage people of all ages to learn and thrive, helping to boost employment and local investment, and spaces for local entrepreneurs to grow their business.
Sustainability will play a huge part in the project. The new homes will be energy-efficient and economical to run, while high-quality green spaces, the planting of 190 new trees, the installation of electric car charging and sustainable construction methods will improve the overall environment performance of the development.
Geoff Pearce, Chair of the Porters Place Southend-on-Sea LLP Board and Deputy Chief Executive of Swan Housing Association said:
“This is a huge opportunity for this area to transform into a vibrant regenerated centre which will provide hundreds of much needed high quality new homes for those living and growing up on the existing Queensway estate, additional affordable and private homes and high-quality public realm and safe places for everyone to enjoy. As Southend-on-Sea responds to the impact of COVID-19, this regeneration will draw in circa £500m investment into the centre of Southend and help ensure a brighter future not just for the Queensway estate but also the wider communities of Southend.”
“After over 12 months of consulting with residents, the local and wider community and stakeholders, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council will now consider our application as the Local Planning Authority. We hope to receive approval in early 2021 so work can begin to transform this significant area of Southend town centre into something which truly reflects the spirit of Southend-on-Sea and can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
Cllr Ian Gilbert, Leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, welcomed the submission of the planning application. He said:
“The Better Queensway project is the largest housing-led regeneration project in Southend’s history. It has significant potential to improve life for residents and transform an aging and outdated part of our town centre into a thriving and attractive neighbourhood that we can all be proud of.
“This council has made it a priority to maximise the number of genuinely affordable homes to be delivered within the project and I am pleased to confirm that, in addition to the 512 affordable homes outlined through the planning application, we are also committed to delivering an extra 100 genuinely affordable homes through a separate contractual arrangement.
“It has taken us seven years to get to this stage, during which time we have received invaluable input from residents, businesses and community leaders about the sort of neighbourhood and community they wish to create and would see their families grow up in. And for that I must offer a massive thank-you. It is now time to take it further forwards and deliver.”
Cllr Ron Woodley, Deputy Leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said:
“This is a very exciting time for this project and those living on the estate, and is the culmination of years of work and planning. I am very pleased to see that this application has now been submitted
“Due to the huge scale of the project, it will take planning officers some time to fully assess this before statutory consultation takes place and it goes to the Council’s Development Control Committee to determine. It will then be incumbent on the committee to decide the planning application on its merits.”
Porters Place Southend-on-Sea LLP is inviting residents, the local and wider community and stakeholders throughout Southend to pledge their support on the Better Queensway website www.betterqueensway.co.uk where you can also find out more about the regeneration project.