Southend Central Area Action Plan & Proposals Map - Proposed Submission
Part C - Quarters and Proposal Site Policies
10. Quarters and Proposal Site Policies
SCAAP Objectives 6, 7 and 8
1. To improve and transform the economic vitality, viability and diversity of Southend Town Centre by encouraging the establishment of a wider range of homes, businesses and shops whilst providing new opportunities for recreation and leisure.;
6. To expand the presence of the University of Essex and the South Essex College and establish Southend as an important regional centre for learning;
7. To encourage the establishment and expansion of all businesses in the Town Centre by identifying, promoting or by actively bringing forward suitable sites for development to meet modern user and investor requirements;
8. To increase the number and diversity of people living within the Town Centre and adjoining residential areas by bringing into use empty or underused floorspace and by building more homes and making efforts to ensure that living in the Town Centre becomes appealing to more families with children.
319. The Southend Central area performs a variety of functions and is defined by its diverse urban character. An assessment of the way people understand the place as a series of different experiences – ranging from participation in core functions and activities such as the High Street retail experience, to the finer grain elements such as the built heritage has been undertaken (see Chapter 3). This along with an understanding of opportunities and constraints and consultation feedback to date, has resulted in an overarching rationale for the Southend Central Action Area Plan based on the creation of a ‘City by the Sea’ and concept of urban Quarters challenging the current geography of the central area which is characterised by a strong sense of zoning (see Chapter 4).
320. This Plan, therefore, establishes the concept of new urban Quarters and sites which, to a varying extent take on a new mixed sustainable character in line with principles set out in the hierarchy of national, regional and local planning policies. In addition the Plan seeks to address the particular challenges facing older communities adjacent to the core Town Centre. These Gateway Neighbourhoods are facing structural change in terms of land use, economic decline, degraded urban fabric and dereliction. Whilst requiring regeneration in their own right for the existing residential and business community this should be achieved by enhancing their function, role and connectivity with the Town Centre regeneration.
10.2 Quarters and Gateway Neighbourhoods
321. There are 9 of these Quarters and 2 Gateway Neighbourhoods see Section 4 Map 3 of SCAAP Boundary, Quarters and Proposal Sites, each with their own role to play within the regeneration of the Central Area:
- The High Street – linear primary shopping street acting as the single unifying element linking the quarters of the central area with each other;
- Queensway and London Road / Broadway – north western entry point to the town centre defined by Queensway to the north with principle buildings fronting London Road and Broadway;
- Elmer Square – the heart of the University and Higher education campus based around the former multi storey car park;
- Queensway and Southchurch Road – north eastern entry point to the Town Centre containing The Victoria Shopping Centre and defined by Queensway to the north and Southchurch Road to the south;
- Warrior Square – east of the High Street focussed on the Warrior Square surface car park and restored Warrior Square Gardens and Conservation Area;
- Clifftown – the historic core of the Town Centre with historical and social linkages to the seafront;
- Tylers - diverse area of mixed uses east of the High Street anchored in the South by the Royals Shopping Centre;
- Central Seafront seaside promenade ranging from active amusement frontages east of the Pier to leisurely promenade backed by splendid cliff gardens west of the pier;
- Victoria Gateway Neighbourhood – large mixed community comprising historic core, large residential neighbourhood, local shopping centre, Southend United Football Club Stadium and traditional office and civic area facing onto Victoria Avenue and
- Sutton Gateway and Neighbourhood - large mixed community including large residential neighbourhood, employment areas, local shopping centres and Greyhound Retail Park.
322. The themes of the new Quarters and Neighbourhood Gateways are appropriate to their context, either seeking to strengthen the competitive advantage of current uses, or defining new roles contributing to the regeneration of the key sites and the Central Area as a whole. The introduction of new residential uses as part of a broader mix is a key element in achieving a vibrant, living Town Centre.
323. It is also important that this growth is considered within an overall townscape framework so that appropriate linkages, access, environmental and infrastructure improvements are provided. Development, urban form, movement and environmental objectives are set out for each quarter to help ensure that new development reinforces or improves the quality and identity of each area. The role of the objectives is to build on the positive qualities of each quarter and improve any negative aspects. For each Quarter and Gateway Neighbourhood, therefore, there is a policy that sets out the key Development Principles for the Quarter/Neighbourhood.
324. Within the areas that have potential for significant change or improvement the AAP identifies proposal sites that are suitable for development to achieve the objectives set out for each quarter or gateway neighbourhood and the vision and objectives for the Town Centre and Central Area overall (see Proposals Map). Some are vacant or underused sites/areas with poor quality environments others have poor quality buildings which would benefit from renewal, or perhaps redevelopment over time. A few are close to Conservation Areas where the emphasis is on respecting and enhancing the historic environment and environmental quality. Policies for the Conservation Areas are set out in Chapter 7 and should be read alongside policies in the adopted Core Strategy DPD and Development Management DPD and the guidance contained within the Design and Townscape Guide SPD.
325. The proposal sites have been identified as follows:
- Proposal Site Policy PS2a: Sainsbury’s and adjacent buildings, London Road Proposal Site
- Proposal Site Policy PS3a: Elmer Square Proposal Site
- Proposal Site Policy PS4a: Queensway House and adjacent buildings
- Proposal Site Policy PS5a: Warrior Square Car Park Proposal Site
- Proposal Site Policy PS5b: Whitegate Road
- Proposal Site Policy PS6a: Clarence Road Car Park
- Proposal Site Policy PS6b: Alexandra Street Car Park
- Proposal Site Policy PS7a: Tylers Avenue
- Proposal Site Policy PS7b: Pitman’s Close
- Proposal Area Policy CS6a: Southend Pier
- Proposal Area Policy CS6b – Seaway Car Park and Marine Parade
- Proposal Area Policy CS7a Cultural Centre and New Southend Museum
- Proposal Area Policy CS8a: Woodgrange Drive (Kursaal) Estate
- Proposal Site Policy PS9a: The Victoria Avenue Site
- Proposal Site Policy PS9b: Former Essex and Suffolk Water Board Site
- Proposal Site Policy PS9c: Roots Hall Football ground and environs
- Proposal Sites PS10a – Former B&Q Site
- Proposal Site PS10b – Sutton Road
- Proposal Site Policy PS10c: Coleman Street
326. The Proposal Site Policies identify appropriate uses and where applicable, the scale of development proposed on the sites. The policies avoid being too explicit on the precise amount and mix of different uses, leaving flexibility in the development of proposals through the planning process. The Council will encourage more detailed assessment and site planning through negotiations with landowners and prospective developers as part of the development control process.
327. It will expect applicants to demonstrate that they have considered and responded to the range of uses and site specific guidance identified in the Proposal Site policies in preparing their planning applications. Informal planning guidance in the form of Developments Briefs may be prepared for individual quarters and Proposal Sites, on a site by site basis, to provide greater clarity and encourage delivery and implementation. For The Victoria Neighbourhood Gateway a Supplementary Planning Document will be prepared setting out further guidance and management proposals for the transformation of this area into a sustainable community.
328. Clearly, the spatial strategy within the Core Strategy DPD requires that a large share of the Borough’s new growth and development is to be focussed in the Town Centre. This proposed growth will have a significant impact on the Council’s ambitions to move towards a reduced carbon society and there will be a need to address resource efficiency and adapt/mitigate any impacts of climate change including such issues as flood risk and protecting and enhancing biodiversity.
329. For all Proposal Sites, planning applications for development will be determined in accordance with the provisions of the individual Proposal Site policy and all other relevant policies. Most development proposals, excepting some minor proposals, will require:
- Design and Access Statements
- Flood Risk Assessment (FRA), taking account of the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) for Southend Central Area
- Provision for SuDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage System), if appropriate, to ensure that runoff from sites is minimised
- Archaeological investigation in the case of redevelopment. Specific sites will require detailed assessment and evaluation in accordance with Policy HE7 in this plan.
- Significant proposals may also require Transport; Environmental Impact; Visual Impact; Air Quality and Noise Assessments.
- A Section 106 planning obligation/legal agreement will be sought in connection with development proposals on all sites in accordance with Planning Obligations: A Guide to Section 106 and Developer Contributions SPD (Adopted November 2010) and Policy IF2 and Circular 05/2005.
330. Public realm and open space improvements; locations for public art; gateway improvements; landmark sites and cycle route improvements referred to in this Chapter are shown on the Proposals Map and listed in Appendix 2.
331. Policies for each proposal site should be read alongside other policies set out in this AAP, the policies in the adopted Core Strategy DPD and Development Management DPD and the guidance contained within the Design and Townscape Guide SPD.
10.2.1 The High Street
332. The High Street is almost 800 metres in length. It is anchored in the north by The Victoria Shopping Centre and in the south by The Royals, where, via Pier Hill there is a continuous link to the seafront.
333. The length of the High Street currently lacks landmarks and points of interest to counteract the linearity although there is a physical and psychological divide about half way down afforded by the railway bridge carrying the line from London Fenchurch Street/ Shoeburyness. It is for the most part pedestrianised and it is, in terms of function, the single unifying element linking all the Quarters of the Central Area with each other. There is an opportunity to differentiate the distinct character zones that it passes through. The repaving, carried out 7 years ago, although reasonably well-executed, concentrates attention on a heavily patterned floorscape that will be in need of replacement in phases over the next 5-10 years.
334. Despite the High Street being on an axis to the coast, due to levels and to the elevated railway bridge which obstructs views to the south, there is little sense of the sea until the landmark lift tower and the sea itself come into view at the southern end. Although the lift, ramps and stairs are designed to improve access down to the seafront, the termination of the High Street is weak and requires a clearly defined public space to help orientate the visitor and to mark the transition between Town and Sea - a space to pause and enjoy the magnificent views.
335. From Victoria Gateway Neighbourhood and Southend Victoria Railway Station to the north, the High Street is masked by the backs of The Victoria Shopping Centre, Odeon Cinema and Sainsburys Supermarket buildings. The recently completed Victoria Gateway scheme has remodelled this junction to provide a classic plaza in front of the Station and enhanced pedestrian and cycle access directly into the top of the High Street. However, there is potential to further improve permeability through remodelling of backs of existing buildings and/or improved design and layout of new development in association with proposals for the Queensway and London Road / Broadway Quarter described below.
336. In terms of urban form the High Street not only feels too long and linear, but it also lacks quality and character that ought to be reinforced by landmarks to give it a rhythm and legibility although the new University buildings, particularly where they punch through to the High Street, demonstrate opportunities and solutions for the future. The character and quality of building facades is inconsistent. There is little sense of the sea until it is actually visible. There are poor visual and physical connections to the Quarters to the east and west where the potential exists for the expansion of the Town Centre on the shoulders of the High Street.
337. The High Street contains the usual range of major multiple retail outlets normally associated with a sub regional centre. The High Street is anchored at either end by shopping precincts, The Victoria and The Royals. The retail units in the High Street are interspersed with cafes, restaurants, coffee bars, banks and building societies. The central section is dominated by South Essex College and the University of Essex which has introduced an added vibrancy to the area. The upper floors of buildings along the High Street are used in part for office and educational uses but many upper floors are vacant.
338. The Council has commissioned a Retail Study that has provided advice on the future of policy for retail and other town centre uses including the night time economy. The findings of this study have informed the policies and proposals in this Plan.
339. There are strong pedestrian movements along and across the High Street at certain times of the day although the retail circuits are poorly defined and there are problems of permeability, legibility and connection to the Quarters to the east and west. Vehicles cross the High Street at a number of locations and a short section is open to traffic. Southend Central Railway Station and the Travel Centre are both located within a short walking distance of the High Street.
340. Objectives for the High Street
- The High Street, along with The Victoria and The Royals Shopping Centres and proposed expanded retail area at Tylers Avenue, will be the sub-regional comparison shopping destination and the first preference for all forms of retail development.
- The High Street will offer a broad range of leisure and cultural facilities appropriately located to enhance visitor and residential experiences and extend the evening economy.
- Primary Shopping Frontages will be active retail areas supported by a broader town centre offer within secondary frontages.
- The High Street will act as a spine linking a physically broadened town centre.
- New and improved civic spaces, including event spaces, will create a series of experiences along the length of the High Street.
- The northern end of the High Street will be enlivened by a high quality civic events space .
- The southern end of the High Street is transformed into ‘Southend’s Balcony’ - a public space overlooking the seafront.
1. The Council, through its role in determining planning applications and other initiatives, will: Policy DP1: The High Street Development Principles
- maintain the role of the High Street as a primary
retail destination by:
- promoting the provision of new and enhanced retail floorspace (Policy DS2);
- resisting loss of A1 Retail uses within Primary Shopping Frontages in the High Street in accordance with Policy DS2 in this Plan;
- only supporting the provision of cafes, restaurants, bars, banks, building societies, and leisure uses, within the High Street where they would augment the activity and attractiveness of existing and proposed public open space and event spaces,
- require ground floors to be active with retail, restaurants, cafes and leisure uses as appropriate, offices and residential uses to be located on upper floors;
- require development proposals which impact on Frontages of Townscape Merit to pay special regard to the preservation and restoration of features which contribute to the special character of their frontage (Policy HE5);
- promote the following access and public realm
- maintain and improve the High Street as public space for pedestrians;
- pedestrianisation of a number of the High Street’s inter-linking access roads supporting access to car parks, greenspace and broadened retail circuits;
- consider limited access to the pedestrian areas by cyclists as part of a partnership approach with stakeholders and the Police;
- re-define the High Street as a sequence of distinct
‘episodes’ which respond to the strengthening and
formation of the different Quarters east and west of
the main retail route, by developing:
- a series of distinctive design palettes relating to surface treatment, street furniture, lighting and tree planting for each ‘episode’;
- at significant junction points, create a strong public realm to emphasise the intersection of east–west routes;
- when redevelopment opportunities arise, seek the use of strong vertical elements in new buildings at appropriate locations to reduce the perceived length of the High Street and to stress east-west connections;
- appropriate tree species and public realm design to emphasise important east west links,
- provide for three new and/or improved public spaces, located at Victoria Circus, either side of the railway bridge and the ‘Southend Balcony’ outside the Royals fronting the Seafront.
341. The High Street plays a key role in maintaining Southend Town Centre as a sub-regional comparison shopping destination. Within the established hierarchy of retail centres in the Borough the Town Centre will remain the first preference for all forms of retail development. However, it is recognised that for the Town Centre to thrive there is a need to enhance the experience for visitors, residents and workers and extend the evening economy. This will be achieved by supporting the provision of cafes, restaurants, bars and other leisure uses at appropriate locations and in particular around principal open spaces such as at Victoria Circus, in the centre of the High Street focussed around new open space either side of the railway bridge and at the southern end where there is public space outside The Royals and fronting the Seafront.
342. This Plan also seeks to re-define the High Street as a sequence of distinct episodes which respond to the strengthening and formation of the different Quarters east and west of the main retail route. The proposed retail circuit at Tylers expands the commercial core eastwards and the Clifftown Quarter to the west will be further brought alive and invigorated by cafes, bars, restaurants and creative enterprises day and night.
343. It is anticipated that the majority of the existing stock of buildings along the High Street will remain and be enhanced over time by owners. However, when redevelopment opportunities arise along the High Street frontage the Council will seek the use of strong vertical elements to reduce the perceived length of the High Street and to stress east-west connections.
344. In order to bring about improvements to the appearance and character of the different sections of the High Street the Council will develop guidance for street furniture, surface treatment, lighting and planting that reflects the individual character of different episodes along the High Street alongside a programme to remove unnecessary signage and other visual clutter. The intersection of east–west routes will be emphasised by the creation of a strong public realm at significant junction points. The High Street has the potential to become a unique and special linear space that has all of the best characteristics of similar spaces in other European cities such as the ‘Ramblas’ in Barcelona.
345. The public realm would be redesigned to reinforce the aspirations of the Plan and the integration of old and new. In addition to pedestrianising some of the east west links, appropriate tree species and public realm design will be used to emphasise these important links, to create legible routes to public transport stops, to indicate new choices of movement and to mark junctions as significant events.
346. Historic and new key buildings and vistas will be enhanced by a strategic lighting strategy and by artwork. There is also an opportunity to introduce contemporary awnings and canopies to enliven the High Street experience.
347. This plan also promotes three key public spaces. The first is the proposals to transform the open space at Victoria Circus at the northern end of the High Street into a prime event space. The second will be as development opportunities arise to create a new civic space either side of the railway bridge including consideration of using lighting to bring the bridge to life. At the southern end of the High Street, the concept of Southend’s Balcony – a public space animated by remodelled active frontages associated with the Royals, the refurbished historic Palace Hotel and the extension of the public realm to the St John’s Quarter. The longer term vision is of a radical, landmark redevelopment which will connect the town to the Pier and Adventure Island by a series of multi-level indoor and outdoor destination spaces. In the shorter term it may be possible to create an upper level public piazza which would work independently as well as forming the first phase of the larger and longer term project.
348. In any future scenario the High Street must be emphatically a public space for pedestrians, where vehicles enter by invitation. It will be an integrated shared surface, free of white-lining, tarmac, signage, railings and all the paraphernalia associated with highway engineering, where subtle cues in surfacing and layout encourage careful negotiation on the part of both pedestrians and motorists. In the short term, new interventions could be incorporated into the existing paving; a strategy will be developed for a coherent redesign of the floorscape, which may need replacement as redevelopment proceeds.
10.2.2 Queensway and London Road / Broadway
349. The area is defined by Queensway to the north, London Road to the south and includes Victoria Gateway and Victoria Circus Public Space in the east and the junction with London Road in the West. The principal buildings front on to London Road. It forms one of several entry points to the Town Centre and High Street. The area is characterised by a varied architecture dominated by three larger buildings, the Odeon Cinema, Sainsbury’s food store and the distinctive new high rise student accommodation with a new public car park and potential for retail and restaurant units on the ground floor.
350. The arrangement and siting of these buildings on the ground currently present their ‘backs’ to the Victoria Neighbourhood Gateway to the north and more importantly a key gateway access for pedestrians, cyclists and passengers alighting from Southend Victoria Railway Station.
351. This Gateway has entered a period of significant transformation with the completion of Phase 1 of the Victoria Gateway scheme (Victoria Avenue / Queensway junction). This has remodelled the junction to create a new civic space along with attractive and more direct routes for pedestrians and cyclists across Queensway. However, the routes through to the High Street and London Road remain narrow and poorly defined.
352. Fronting London Road the dominant land uses are the cinema together with a range of cafes and restaurants. The banking sector is also represented together with some retail outlets. The western end of London Road is anchored by a medium sized Sainsbury food store.
353. London Road and the Broadway has become transformed in recent years into an active café and restaurant Quarter that provides day time and evening attraction. Consequently there is significant pedestrian activity in the area including movements to and from the High Street. There is a taxi rank in London Road which is one of the principal dropping off and picking up points for the Town Centre. The street is very wide and this encourages private cars to also use London Road to drop off and pick up passengers. This all adds to the levels of pedestrian activity.
354. The area includes one proposal site PS2a focussed on the current Sainsbury’s food store and smaller buildings to the west. There is some uncertainty over the future of the store but should the planned relocation take place there is potential for this site to accommodate a significant office led mixed development. This development in association with development at Warrior Square (Proposal Site PS5a) would play a part in a long term strategy to relocate the Grade A Office provision to within the Town Centre, also making way for a transformation / remodelling of the older outmoded office quarter in the Victoria Gateway Neighbourhood. The potential of this site was assessed and tested as part of the Employment Land Review, Retail Study and the former Renaissance Southend Limited’s Regeneration Framework and Central Area Master Plan.
355. Objectives for Queensway and London Road/Broadway
- The primary location for major economic growth particularly for Grade A office (B1 uses) provision supported by new, high quality housing based on the ambitions to transform / remodel of the older outmoded office quarter in The Victoria Gateway Neighbourhood into a sustainable residential led neighbourhood
- To play a key role in reinforcing the northern primary retail circuit with The Victoria and the High Street at its heart
- To reinforce London Road as secondary shopping and café/restaurant area including Street Market
- Increase permeability for pedestrians and cyclists at the key Gateway to the Town Centre
The Council, through its role in determining planning applications and other initiatives, will: Policy DP2 : Queensway and London Road/Broadway Development Principles
1. seek a mixed use landmark development of Proposal Site PS2a Sainsbury’s and adjacent buildings in the event of Sainsburys relocating;2. promote uses in the area that deliver the objectives for the quarter;
3. seek active ground floor frontages with bars, restaurants, leisure and retail as a feature of existing and proposed pedestrian routes within the quarter with offices and residential at upper levels;4. consider the provision of Street Market on new pedestrianised length of London Road;
5. consider the provision of additional Higher and Further Education facilities based on an assessment of the expansion needs of the University of Essex and South Essex College;6. promote the following access and public realm improvements:
- enhance the role of Victoria Circus as a key event / civic space
- relocation of taxi facilities to west of College Way on London Road, its location and facilities to be determined in consultation with the taxi providers
- maintenance of public parking at the University Car Park, College Way with short and direct access via London Road and College Way
- delivery of phase two and three of the Victoria Gateway
- the creation of a linear park along the greensward within a realigned Queensway corridor;
- junction improvements at Queensway / London Road to improve pedestrian and cycle crossing;
- provision for ‘mixed mode - pedestrian and cycle priority’ route from Queensway to Luker Road via London Road, College Way, Queens Road and Elmer Avenue;
- creation of new fully pedestrianised and cycle priority route along London Road between College Way and the High Street,
- pursue public realm and way finding improvements to create high quality pedestrian environments and improved permeability from Queensway to London Road and the High Street;
- seek provision of public art (Policy PR2) and integrated signage and artwork that combine with more traditional signage to signal entry to the Town Centre from Queensway/Southend Victoria Railway Station and clear way-finding;
- pursue urban greening projects, including the use of green walls and roof gardens (Policy DM2 and SCAAP Policy PR2) and the creation of green space within new development (Policy PR1).
1. In the event of Sainsburys relocating, the Council will work with land and property owners and developers to prepare a planning brief to secure the comprehensive redevelopment of the area to deliver the development principles for the quarter, and to provide: Proposal Site Policy PS2a: Sainsbury’s and adjacent buildings, London Road Proposal Site
- mixed use landmark development primarily focussed on Grade A B1 office with residential uses at upper levels in association with other town centre uses at ground floor level such uses as bars and restaurants, leisure, banks and small retail;
- design and layout solutions that allow for:
- potential extended development site resulting from realigned Queensway carriageway;
- development to the Queensway elevation of a quality that provides grandeur and a distinctive landmark;
- attractive frontages to Queensway elevation coupled with arcaded route to London Road and active frontages with mixed town centre uses to all other frontages;
- high quality pedestrian environments and improved permeability from Queensway to London Road and the High Street;
- provision of public art, particularly to Queensway to signal gateway entry to the Town Centre.
2. In the event of Sainsburys remaining, the Council will work with land and property owners and developers to secure the comprehensive upgrading and intensification of the area to deliver the Objectives for the quarter and appropriate elements in this Policy.3. Parking and servicing requirements will need to have regard to Policy DM16 in the Development Management DPD.p
356. There is some uncertainty over the future of the Sainsburys food store. In the event of Sainsburys finding an alternative Town Centre site, London Road will play a key role in providing urban scale and quality to complement Victoria Gateway. In this eventuality, the Council will bring forward a detailed planning brief to help orchestrate the reshaping of the Sainsburys site whilst also capitalising on the opportunities this may bring to addressing some of the existing weaknesses of the area.
357. Supported by the improved linkages to and from the Victoria Quarter and the railway station provided by the Victoria Gateway Scheme, alongside greater permeability and an enhanced network of public spaces, London Road will become an attractive location for landmark office development, with enhanced retail and leisure offer and residential units at upper levels. The delivery of office led development in this quarter and others will need to be associated with the ambitions to remodel the traditional office quarter in Victoria Avenue. The objectives here are to release the office uses in this area to create a sustainable residential led gateway development.
358. In the event of Sainsburys staying, either in their current format or a revised type of store, opportunities to enhance the location still exist.
359. The Odeon building could be expanded to accommodate more cinema screens and/or retail frontages. In addition the Odeon elevation to Queensway presents an opportunity for Public Art, particularly to signal the gateway to the High Street complimented by a redesigned passage leading to Victoria Circus to create an active frontage.
360. The Victoria Circus public space to be refurbished and remodelled to support the evolution of the food and drink offer running off the High Street. Its role as a key destination and event space should be enhanced and there is potential to create a better sense of enclosure by remodelling the space into an ‘amphitheatre’, reinstating tree and public art. The Council will also consider expansion of the space to the south should redevelopment opportunities arise. In conjunction with this the Council has agreed that the eastern part of London Road could be pedestrianised in order to extend the High Street pedestrian area. In addition there is the potential for new pedestrian connections to extend the existing street pattern from London Road to Queensway. Allied to this, perpendicular [or en echelon] on-street car parking could be introduced in the western section of London Road along with improved facilities for taxis.
10.2.3 Elmer Square
361. Elmer Square is in the heart of the Higher and Further Education Campus on the edge of the Town Centre in an area of transition with the residential areas to the west.
362. This area comprises the former Farringdon Car Park which has now been replaced with the modern University car park located in the basement of the development known as the ‘lego’ building which also provides student accommodation for the University campus in this quarter.
363. Visually the area is dominated by the new buildings for the University and the rear of properties in the High Street to the east and south. Elmer Avenue consists of a terrace of residential properties that overlook this site from the west and the northern edge is formed by the Farringdon Service Road which backs on to the rear of the low rise secondary retail units in Queens Road.
364. Being once the location for a large multi storey car park, consequently there were high levels of vehicle and pedestrian movements linked with the car parks. In addition the adjoining University buildings and residential area and the High Street shops add to the levels of pedestrian movement and activity.
365. The area consists of one key proposal site PS3a Elmer Square focussed on the former Farringdon Car Park. Development of this site should play a key part in supporting Southend’s increasingly important role as an educational and cultural hub, with the University of Essex and South Essex College forging a strong presence north of Southend Central Railway Station. The potential of this site was assessed and tested as part of the Employment Land Review, Retail Study and the former Renaissance Southend Limited’s Regeneration Framework and Central Area Master Plan. More recently specific proposals have been taken forward within a Development Brief for the site.
366. Objectives for Elmer Square
- To be the focus for the sustainable growth of higher and further education and cultural facilities in the Town Centre in association with the existing campus for the University of Essex and South Essex College.
- The primary location for a new 21st Century Library, including Focal Point Gallery and café together with academic and office facilities, including an i-lab and lecture theatre, for the University of Essex.
- Location for new public square / events space and provision for further expansion of facilities for the University of Essex and Southend College when required
- Enhanced permeability with public realm improvements strengthening links to Queens Road, the High Street and towards the Southend Central Railway Station and the College and University.
The Council, through its role in determining planning applications and other initiatives, will: Policy DP3 : Elmer Square Development Principles
1. seek the provision of Library and Further and Higher Educational facilities in a landmark development on Proposal Site PS3a Elmer Square;2. promote uses in the area that deliver the objectives for the quarter;
3. capitalise on the reduction in general vehicle circulation resulting from the relocation of the car park with associated direct and short routes to and out of multi-storey car park via London Road;4. promote the following access and public realm improvements:
- create new public square within the quarter linked across Farringdon Service Road and up to its junction with Queens Road;
- creation of new fully pedestrian and cycle space along Queens Road between Elmer Avenue and the High Street;
- provision for ‘mixed mode - pedestrian and cycle priority’ route from Queensway to Luker Road via London Road, College Way, Queens Road and Elmer Avenue;
- seek provision of public art and integrated signage and artwork to building elevations that combine with more traditional signage to signal entry to the Town Centre where appropriate and clear way-finding;
- pursue urban greening projects, including the use of green walls and roof gardens and the creation of green space within new development.
Proposal Site Policy PS3a: Elmer Square Proposal Site
The Council will pursue with public and sector partners the phased redevelopment of this site as follows:1. Phase 1 to provide
- shared Library and Teaching Building consisting public library, exhibition space (Focal Point Gallery) café and teaching space including i-lab and lecture theatre
- landscaping of semi enclosed new public square with public art / sculpture and large scale digital projection
- the following highways improvements:
- on site, to change Farringdon Service Road from a one way to a two way traffic movement with turning head on the proposed truncated end of Farringdon Service Road
- the off site highways works include:
- to the south, link the new paving from the square /open space up to the existing pedestrianised paving in Elmer Approach; end point on the public highway to be the junction of Elmer Approach with Luker Road;
- to the north, link the new paving from the square / open space across Farringdon service road and up to its junction with Queens Road;
- finalise the turning facility on the truncated end of Farringdon service road;
- All paving in front of the new building forming open space/square to be able to carry maintenance vehicles,
- additional teaching building for South Essex College.
The Council will prepare a Development Brief to take forward development of this site.
367. Southend has an increasingly important role as an educational and cultural hub, with the University of Essex and South Essex College forging a strong presence north of Southend Central Railway Station. Elmer Square represents a major opportunity to deliver the sustainable growth of higher and education and culture and will be the focus of the College continued expansion. The site will also enhance permeability with public realm improvements strengthening links to Queens Road, the High Street and towards the Southend Central Railway Station and the College and University. The Council has prepared a Development Brief for Phase 1 of this site and planning application has been submitted. The aim of the Brief is to deliver a scheme incorporating a new 21st Century Library meeting both the requirements of a modern replacement for the current central library and the potential for an expanding higher and further education sector in the Town Centre and new public space. Development will also be designed and phased to meet the expansion and growth needs of South Essex College when required.
10.2.4 Queensway and Southchurch Avenue
368. The area is dominated by The Victoria Shopping Centre and associated car park, separated by Chichester Road from a 1960s tower residential block and Queensway House which contains flats, a former health centre, offices and a multi storey car park. It is likely in the future that this building may provide development opportunities within this quarter. In the south, Southchurch Road contains a mix of older, low rise, buildings that have a somewhat drab and rundown appearance. Southchurch Road plays an important role as a secondary retail and commercial frontage. Beyond Southchurch Road the area is residential with a health centre and multi storey car park.
369. Queensway, that forms the north and eastern boundary to this quarter, acts as both a major highway approach to the town centre and a ring road around the Town Centre. Its scale and highway orientated design of its immediate envelope mean that it tends to act as a barrier between the Town Centre and its outlying neighbourhoods. For pedestrians and cyclists, crossing the roads by way of underpasses and indirect routes can be unpleasant and counter-intuitive. In places, the footway is separated from the carriageway by stretches of grass and shrubs, resulting in areas of path which lack natural surveillance from passing cars and give the impression of being potentially unsafe. Queensway’s roundabouts and verges are amongst the most significant green wedges in the Town Centre, but as green spaces they are underused. Mature trees on roundabouts block desirable vistas to town or sea and could be redesigned to enhance their function as city gateways.
370. Southchurch Road is a principal route for traffic entering the Town Centre from the east in order to use the car parks in and around the Chichester Road area.
371. Chichester Road is the main access route to Victoria Shopping Centre Car Park and is the major bus access to the Travel Centre/ interchange at the southern end of Chichester Road in Tylers Quarter. The environment of Chichester Road within this quarter is very poor at the northern end and The Victoria and Queensway buildings create a dark canyon effect on what is an area of a great deal of pedestrian activity.
372. Pedestrian footfall reflects the status of Southchurch Road as a secondary shopping location and route to the primary shopping area on the High Street and also the presence of several bus stops.
373. The area consists of one key proposal site PS4a Queensway House and adjacent buildings. Development of this site should play a key role in delivery additional housing in the Town Centre and supporting new commercial development including office and secondary retail and the provision of public open space. The potential of this site was assessed and tested as part of the Employment Land Review, Retail Study and the former Renaissance Southend Limited’s Regeneration Framework and Central Area Master Plan.
374. Objectives for Queensway and Southchurch Avenue
- To play a role in reinforcing the northern primary retail circuit with the High Street and The Victoria Shopping Centre at its heart.
- Reinforce Southchurch Road as secondary shopping area and provide new employment opportunities.
- To provide new and improved residential accommodation.
- To create an area where streets and public space reflect a vibrant and busy residential and shopping district.
The Council, through its role in determining planning applications and other initiatives, will: Policy DP4 : Queensway and Southchurch Avenue Development Principles
1. seek the provision of new and improved housing, office and secondary retail and community uses, with new public square facing onto Chichester Road for Proposal Site PS4a Chichester Road;2. promote uses in the area that deliver the objectives for the quarter;
3. support the refurbishment of retail and commercial frontages to Southchurch Road;4. consider the re-provision of car parking in the area;
5. promote active frontages at ground floor to existing and proposed streets;6. promote the following access and public realm improvements:
- create new public space fronting Chichester Road opposite Victoria Shopping Centre;
- improved public realm and way finding to create high quality pedestrian and cycling environment particularly to link this quarter with Elmer and Warrior Square;
- provision of public art particularly to Queensway frontage and Gateway at Sutton Road junction;
- create ‘mixed mode - shared priority’ route from Southchurch Road to the new Warrior Square Car Park via Warrior Square East;
- create ‘mixed mode - pedestrian and cycle priority’ route along Southchurch Road between Queensway and the High Street/Victoria Circus;
- promote environmental improvements to Queensway
- improved crossing for pedestrians and cyclists and gateway improvements at Queensway/Sutton Road Junction;
- improved crossing for pedestrians and cyclists at Queensway/Short Street/Chichester Road junction in association with capacity requirements for development on former B&Q Proposal Site, Chichester Road Proposal Site and Coleman Street Proposal Site;
- dense planting to establish an ‘urban forest’ alongside this traffic route.
Some areas within this quarter are susceptible to surface water flooding and all proposals for development should accord with Core Policy KP1 and KP2 and have regard to the SFRA, the Local Flood Risk Partnership’s Surface Water Management Plan and the Council’s emerging Local Flood Risk Management Strategy when approved.
375. This plan envisages greater definition of the boundary with Queensway with a mix of residential, retail and commercial uses. This area is also suitable for car parking given easy access to the High Street and Queensway. The new Queensway neighbourhood will also benefit from closer connections with the new community quarter at Warrior Square.
376. The redevelopment of the proposal sites in the quadrant between Southchurch Road, Queensway and Chichester Road, including the Queensway building, represents a major opportunity to transform the area.
377. The new Queensway neighbourhood will also benefit from closer connections with Warrior Square and Elmer Square along improved routes to the High Street along Southchurch Road linking to London Road and Chichester Road to Warrior Square Gardens
378. In relation to Queensway there is an opportunity to create more user friendly pedestrian and cycle crossings on the key east-west and north-south links. In addition a landscape design and public art scheme could be developed to open up and emphasise vistas at roundabouts, wherever appropriate and to plant the verges as an ‘urban forest’.
Proposal Site Policy PS4a: Queensway House and adjacent buildings
The Council will pursue with public and private sector partners the redevelopment of this site as follows:1. promote the provision of additional housing and new commercial development including office and secondary retail uses together with community facilities by either:
- the refurbishment and upgrade of the existing residential tower together with redevelopment of the remaining area, or
- comprehensive redevelopment of the whole site,
3. consider the provision of public parking provided it is located close to Queensway and does not encourage general vehicle circulation along Chichester Road, Southchurch Road and Queensway;4. provide new public open space fronting Chichester Road, including appropriate crossing improvements on Chichester Road, to relieve canyon effect of existing buildings and improve the environment for residents and visitors;
5. pursue urban greening within the development, including the use of green walls and roof gardens and the creation of green space within new development.This Proposal Site is susceptible to surface water flooding and all proposals for development should accord with Core Policy KP1 and KP2 and have regard to the SFRA, the Local Flood Risk Partnership’s Surface Water Management Plan and the Council’s emerging Local Flood Risk Management Strategy when approved
The Council will prepare a Development Brief to take forward development of this site.
379. Southend has areas of poorer quality housing which present a greater challenge to enabling sustainable communities. The opportunity exists on this site to not only contribute to broader Town Centre objectives but also invest and build on neighbourhood regeneration, where achieving decent homes standard for Council accommodation remains a priority together with improving the housing offer for the residents. This approach has been taken forward as a priority in the Council’s Local Investment Plan.
10.2.5 Warrior Square
380. Warrior Square surface car park dominates the area. It is bounded to the east by Queensway, Whitegate Road to the south and Chichester Road to the west. The car park is interspersed with buildings comprising the former Warriors Swimming Pool, and several small scale offices in converted terraced villa style dwelling houses. To the north is one of the few green public open space in the town centre known as Warrior Square Gardens. The gardens are also bounded to the north and east by terraced villa type properties most of which are still in residential use. The Gardens and northern terrace are designated as a Conservation Area.
381. The area includes proposal sites: PS5a focussed on the current Warrior Square Car Park and former Swimming Pool and PS5b at Whitegate Road. There is potential for the Warrior Square site to accommodate a significant mixed use development focussed on office and residential uses as well as being the possible location for a Primary Care Trust Facility. This development in association with development at London Road and Broadway Square (Proposal Site PS2a), would then play a part in a long term strategy to relocate the Grade A Office provision to within the Town Centre, also making way for a transformation / remodelling of the older outmoded office quarter in the Victoria Gateway Neighbourhood. The site would also accommodate a new multi-storey car park in line with the Parking Strategy set out in Chapter 9. The potential of this site was assessed and tested as part of the Employment Land Review, and Retail Study and the RSL’s Regeneration Framework and Central Area Master Plan.
382. The site at Whitegate Road has the potential to complement the development at Warrior Square. There is potential for appropriate sized commercial offer. Whitegate Road was previously identified within the adopted Borough Local Plan. They are still available for development and whilst not specifically reviewed for a particular purpose or land use they are considered to present opportunities for reinforcing and delivering the objectives of the Warrior Square development area.
383. Objectives for Warrior Square
- Create a high quality mixed use area which builds on and enhances Warrior Square Gardens and the historic quality of the existing residential streets forming the Warrior Square Conservation Area.
- A primary location for economic growth focussed on development opportunities for Grade A B1 office use, high quality housing, and compatible small-scale restaurant/ bar use at ground level through a comprehensive design solution and new multi-storey car park.
The Council, through its role in determining planning applications and other initiatives, will: Policy DP5 : Warrior Square Development Principles
1. seek mixed use development of Proposal Site P5a and the provision of a multi storey car park;2. promote uses in the area that deliver the objectives for the quarter;
3. consider the provision of additional Higher and Further Education facilities based on an assessment of the expansion needs of the University of Essex and South Essex College;4. protect and enhance the Warrior Square Conservation Area;
5. reinforce the residential nature of Warrior Square East and Whitegate Road;6. promote mixed use development elsewhere focussing primarily residential and office uses and at upper levels;
7. seek active frontages and complementary Town Centre uses at ground floor, in particular facing onto Chichester Road and Warrior Square;8. promote the following access and public realm improvements:
- maintenance of the quality of Warrior Square Gardens and promote public realm improvements that respect and engage with the Gardens;
- provision of new multi-storey car park;
- reduction in general vehicle circulation in residential streets by providing direct and short route to the car park from Warrior Square East and exit from the car park onto Queensway and providing residents’ parking scheme in adjacent roads;
- creation of new ‘fully pedestrian and cycle priority’ route along Warrior Square between Warrior Square East and the High Street including appropriate crossing improvements on Chichester Road;
- provision for ‘mixed mode - shared priority’ route from Southchurch Road to the new Warrior Square Car Park via Warrior Square East;
- environmental improvements to Queensway including dense planting to establish an ‘urban forest’ alongside this traffic route.
The Council will pursue with private sector partners the redevelopment of this site for mixed use development including the provision of: Proposal Site Policy PS5a: Warrior Square Car Park Proposal Site
1. mixed use development focussed on the Grade A Office (B1) new multi-storey car park supported by residential and compatible A3 uses at ground floor including electric car charging points, Cycle Café, workshop, public toilets and travel information centre;2. uses and landscaping along northern ground floor elevations to engage with, and provide facilities for, Warrior Square Gardens;
3. housing on Whitegate Road frontage of a scale that defers to lower massing and residential nature of this area;4. a high quality user environment, with pedestrian considerations integral to the design and operation of the car park;
5. a direct and short route to the car park from Warrior Square East and exit from the car park onto Queensway;6. a pedestrian square to the north of the site linked both physically and in design terms to Warrior Square Gardens and new pedestrian route along Warrior Square South;
7. integrated public art into design of buildings and associated landscape elements;8. use public art and design of buildings to signal/signpost the Car park to travellers on Queensway wishing to park and to other destinations within the centre for pedestrians.
384. Warrior Square car park site is an area of approximately 1.85 ha within the Central Area of Southend and owned by the Council. It is bounded on all sides by public roads and Warrior Square Gardens to the north. These gardens fall within a conservation area consisting of late Victorian housing, and were originally intended as a private square for the housing. The gardens have been the subject of a £1.5m regeneration project including new landscaping and the construction of a new café. Warrior Square Car Park site is identified as an area for regeneration that can make a positive contribution to the Central Area. The Council’s former regeneration partner, Renaissance Southend Limited commissioned a site technical report and a development brief for the overall site, which identified the opportunity for the construction of a new multi-storey car park. The development also supports the Car Park replacement strategy within this plan. The development of the site could be phased allowing for the car park provision to be undertaken independently of the mixed use development on the site. The Council is preparing a Design Brief for the Multi Storey Car Park.
The Council, will pursue with private sector partners the redevelopment of this site in a manner which contributes to the objectives for the Warrior Square Avenue Quarter and meets the development principles outlined in Policy DP5 above. Proposal Site Policy PS5b: Whitegate Road
385. The Whitegate Road site is a vacant site whose development would benefit the vitality and viability of the area and contribute to enhancing the townscape. In the past permission has been granted (now expired) for a four storey office building with restaurant on the ground floor. Such a development would not be out of synch with the objectives for this quarter.
386. This area lies to the south of the London (Fenchurch Street)` to Shoeburyness Railway Line and west of the High Street. It includes the shops and other premises that form the west side of the High Street and the commercial and residential hinterland beyond. A significant proportion within and around the area is designated as Clifftown Conservation Area with associated concentration of listed buildings, locally listed buildings. Closer to the High Street there are frontages of townscape merit. The quality of these buildings and the historic fine grain of the area are the defining characteristics of this part of the town centre.
387. The area is characterised by retail, food and drink premises, commercial uses and residential. There are also two reasonably sized surface car parks.
388. The area is at the interface between the traditional High Street and the Central Seafront particularly Western Esplanade with its gardens and promenade. It therefore attracts visitors and day trippers as well as traditional shoppers. This multiplicity and overlap of functions means that the area has a special verve and vitality that cuts across the seasons. However, whilst the area is very permeable and entices walkers to wander around the attractive streets there are opportunities to improve the promenade circuits, including linkages to the Cliffs and access to the Seafront, and improve the retail, food and drink offer.
389. The area includes the Clifftown Conservation Area and two proposal sites which are currently occupied by surface car parks (PS6a and PS6b) with potential for redevelopment and enhancement.
390. The potential of these sites was assessed and tested as part of the Employment Land Review, and Retail Study and the Renaissance Southend Ltd’s Regeneration Framework and Central Area Master Plan. Further work was commissioned to prepare a planning brief for both sites and the Council is currently preparing an Impact and Enabling Study for development of Clarence Road Car Park with particular reference to delivering a new car park and mixed use development.
391. Objectives for the Clifftown
- Create an area with strong cultural identity capitalising on the fine grain historic street form, attractive historic character and linkages to Royal Terrace, the Cliff Gardens/Seafront and the High Street.
- Ensure that streetscape and the environment are of the highest quality which defines the specialised nature of this area.
- Encourage independent retailing, boutiques, café culture, restaurants, bars and small studio style workshops in the area.
- Redevelop the surface car parks at Clarence Road and Alexandra Street in line with the overall objectives for this quarter.
1. The Council, through its role in determining planning applications and other initiatives, will: Policy DP6: Clifftown Development Principles
- seek mixed use development of Proposal Sites PS6a Clarence Road Car Park and PS6b Alexandra Street Car Park;
- promote independent retailing, boutiques, café culture, restaurants, bars and small studio style workshops together with residential uses above ground floor level;
- promote uses that create an area with strong cultural identity;
- protect and enhance the Clifftown Conservation Area;
- reinforce the fine grain historic street form and attractive historic character of the area;
- restore building elevations and new shopfronts on Clifftown Road to extend the retail frontage around a new walking circuit;
- promote the following access and public realm
- improve the streetscape and environment realm in a way that respects the historic character and reflects and defines the identity of the area;
- protect key views both into and out of the area and views of key historic buildings;
- provide new multi level car park;
- seek a reduction in general vehicle circulation in residential streets by securing the most direct and shortest route to and out of the new car park;
- streetscape and landscape design improvements to designate walking circuits through Clifftown from Southend Central Station, to Cliff Gardens and Pier Hill.
2. The Council will prepare planning/development briefs for key sites to guide development and change including for Proposal Site P6a Clarence Road Car Park and Proposal Site PS6b Alexandra Street Car Park.3. The Council will pursue the upgrading and enhancement of this area with private sector land and property owners and developers by supporting applications that:
- regenerate the forecourt at Southend Central Railway Station as a signature public space designed in a way that respects the locally listed station building;
- redevelop Central House for new larger retail units with frontage on High Street and Clifftown Road and office/residential development above. There is potential for a tall feature building in this location and new public realm opportunities;
- regenerate the Empire Theatre with use/s that contribute to the cultural capital in the area.
Proposal Site Policy PS6a: Clarence Road Car Park
The Council will pursue with private sector partners the redevelopment of this site for mixed use development including the provision of:1. new public car park and associated direct and short route to and from the car park from Clarence Road;
2. a mix of retail, residential and other uses, such as cafes and small offices / workshops compatible with the objectives for the quarter;3. a building design that groups uses around ‘lanes’ or ‘courtyards’ to reflect the scale, grain and form of the area;
4. a new public square located within a courtyard;5. new pedestrian linkages particularly between Nelson Mews and Alexandra Street and Clarence Road;
6. new views to key buildings and streets;7. clear, simple and minimal signage for cars and pedestrians that is integrated into the development.
Proposal Site Policy PS6b: Alexandra Street Car Park
The Council will pursue with private sector partners the redevelopment of this site for mixed use development including:1. small ground floor retail, food and drink units and residential units above;
2. new public lanes for small markets and outdoor dining;3. potential for new units or extensions to the back of the High Street units.
392. Support will be given to the evolution of the Clifftown area as an area with a strong food, drink and small niche retail offer. The main focus for this will be development opportunities on Alexandra Street and Clarence Road car parks currently owned by the HCA. The character of the streets and spaces around Clarence Road and Alexandra Street should foster the growth of the small creative enterprises, small specialised niche retail units, workshops, restaurants and bars. In keeping with the fine grain of the buildings to be refurbished, the Quarter would have an intimate feel, of small streets, lanes, mews and yards.
393. Within the Conservation area the objective is to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area. This Quarter will also have a strong cultural identity, capitalising on the fine grain historic street form, attractive historic character and links to the Royal Terrace and the Cliffs. There is an opportunity to also improve information about the heritage of the area and what can be viewed across the estuary afforded by the higher cliffs above the esplanade.
394. The Alexandra Street Car Park Proposal site provides an opportunity to create a small square within a network of lanes and mews, appropriate for market, performance, meeting places and café culture activities. The public realm would for the most part be hard-surfaced and uncluttered for flexibility of use.
395. In the north of the Clifftown Quarter, the redevelopment of Central House on Clifftown Road, in association with improvements to Southend Central Railway Station, will pay a key role in redefining this part of the Town Centre. A new public plaza could be created on the south side of Southend Central Railway Station. The station is at present hidden away from the High street, with a very low quality forecourt dominated by cars. Despite its modest size this proposed square would be intensely used by virtue of its central location adjacent to a main transport hub and very close to the University and College and retail core. In addition the junction between Clifftown Road and the High Street should be treated as one of the proposed series of nodes on the High street which responds to changes in the character of the adjacent Quarters and direct attention to key buildings and views. This would also link with proposals to create a new civic space at this location in the High Street.
10.2.7 Tylers Avenue
396. Tylers Avenue Quarter is strongly associated with the High Street being primarily the location for the Town Centre public transport interchange and car parking. It is from this quarter, however, where travelling south and south east the traditional High Street shopping area meets with the main seafront attractions at the Pier and along the Golden mile and Eastern Esplanade.
397. The biggest challenge for this Plan is how to more strongly integrate the High Street and Town Centre with the Central Seafront and Esplanade. The main problem is the diverse nature of the component parts of the wider area and the challenging topography which in part contributes to the fragmentation between Tylers Avenue Quarter and the Central Seafront area.
398. There is a dramatic change in level from the southern end of the High Street to the Central Seafront and Eastern Esplanade. This is a crucial link which joins the High Street and new retail areas to the entire seafront, despite a challenging drop in level from Pier Hill. This area contains the entrance to the pier, Adventure Island and part of the Central Seafront. The area is dominated by the Palace Hotel which has recently been extensively modernised and refurbished to a high standard. Below this on the Marine Parade itself there is a terrace facing the sea that consists mainly of large amusement arcades that are interspersed with mixed sized food and drink establishments. Behind this frontage, and largely hidden from view, is St Johns Church and churchyard separated by a terrace of houses in Herbert Road from the bleak and sprawling Seaways Car Park. This Car Park in turn sits behind the amusement centres that front on to the Marine Parade and the Eastern Esplanade and the night clubs that front on to Lucy Road.
399. In order to overcome the fragmentation of this area and integrate the High Street shopping experience with the Seafront leisure experience, there is, therefore, a clear need to consider objectives and development opportunities in this quarter with those for the seafront and in particular the Central Seafront area including Seaway Car Park.
400. The Central Seafront Strategy sets out in detail the objectives, and development policies for the area covering Western Esplanade, the Pier, the Golden mile and Eastern Esplanade.
401. This section deals with Tylers Avenue Quarter. Both strategies have been developed with full regard to how these areas should be fully integrated.
402. That part of the High Street adjacent to the Tylers Avenue Quarter forms the southern end of the Town Centre anchored by The Royals Shopping Centre. To the east of this and south of the railway line there is a more fragmented area that contains modern office blocks, the Tylers Avenue car park, the former York Road market site (currently the site of a new Temporary Market), and the Travel Centre including main bus interchange. This component part is severed from the High Street by Chichester Road which at present functions as a main access route for cars and service vehicles accessing Town Centre premises and shoppers’ car parks, and for buses serving the Travel Centre.
403. The High Street is dominated by retail and commercial premises. The Seafront contains hotels, leisure, and food and drink establishments. Behind these there are extensive areas of car parking interspersed with commercial uses. This represents an area of transition from the Town Centre to the residential area beyond.
404. Adjoining this fragmented area is an established residential area based on a traditional street pattern containing houses of different sizes and tenures. This residential area is somewhat isolated from the Town Centre because of the poor connectivity across the barrier created by Chichester Road to the High Street. In the other direction Queensway forms yet another barrier severing links with and into the residential areas to the east. Queensway and Chancellor Road are currently the principal means of access to The Royals multi storey car park and the Seaways car park although vehicles do use Chichester Road to access the car parks in this part of the Town Centre when looking for spaces.
405. Within this area there are three proposal sites. Proposal Site P7a Tylers Avenue Car Park with potential for redevelopment and enhancement. The potential of this site was assessed and tested as part of the Employment Land Review, and Retail Study and the RSL’s Regeneration Framework and Central Area Master Plan. The objectives and proposals for both Tylers Quarter and the seafront have been developed as a result of this more holistic consideration.
406. Proposal Site PS7a Tylers Avenue has potential for high quality mixed use development with commercial and residential offer. High quality retail may be supported by office. There is also the potential for a replacement car park if required. PS7b Pitman’s Close was previously identified within the adopted Borough Local Plan. They are still available for development and whilst not specifically reviewed for a particular purpose or land use they are considered to present opportunities for reinforcing and delivering the objectives for the Tyler’s Avenue Quarter and Town Centre as a whole.
407. Objectives for Tylers Avenue Quarter
- Primary location for new high quality retail offer to complement the High Street and the Royals.
- Expanded retail circuit including the southern end of the High Street, The Royals and new development on Tylers Avenue car park, including maintenance of provision of street market if not relocated to London Road.
- New retail circuit strongly integrated with the central seafront and Esplanade including improved walking and cycling linkages between this quarter and the Central Seafront via St John’s and Seaway Car Park Proposal Site and via Pier Hill.
- Car Parking and public transport interchange solutions that integrate with the above objectives for the quarter.
1. The Council, through its role in determining planning applications and other initiatives, will: Policy DP7: Tylers Avenue Development Principles
- seek new development focussed on new larger retail units for Proposal Site PS7a Tylers Avenue Car Park;
- promote an expansion of the primary retail circuit to include the southern end of the High Street, The Royals and new development on Tylers Avenue car park;
- consider the provision of additional Higher and Further Education facilities based on an assessment of the expansion needs of the University of Essex and South Essex College;
- seek active frontages on all streets [existing or proposed] including frontages facing onto Chichester Road;
- promote the following access and public realm
- promote a new and enhanced open space based around St Johns Church, including its churchyard;
- ensure the demand for car parking in this quarter is resolved as part of the wider Car Parking Strategy for the Town Centre and development proposals on Tylers Avenue Proposal Site;
- should replacement car parking not be required in
this quarter, capitalise on reduced general vehicle
circulation in residential streets to:
- create ‘mixed mode – pedestrian and cycle priority’ route along York Road to the High Street including appropriate crossing on Queensway and Chichester Road;
- consider a ‘Home Zone’ approach for the residential streets (Quebec Avenue, Portland Avenue, Baltic Avenue and Heygate Avenue).
- ensure stronger integration with the central seafront and Eastern Esplanade including improved walking and cycling linkages between this quarter and the Central Seafront via St John’s and Seaway Car Park Proposal Site and via Pier Hill;
- promote environmental improvements to Queensway including dense planting to establish an ‘urban forest’ alongside this traffic route;
- junction improvements at Queensway/Seaway Car Park/Chancellor Road
- through the Local Transport Plan, consider the
- alternative approaches to public transport interchanges serving the Town Centre and the future of the Travel Centre;
- consequential improvements to Chichester Road in order to reduce barriers to new retail circuit.
2. The Council will pursue the upgrading and enhancement of this area with private sector land and property owners and developers by supporting applications that:
- meet the development principles set out above;
- provide for ‘Pavilion’ extensions to The Royals shopping centre creating increased trading floor areas, restored active frontages and positive response to Pier Hill and linkages to the seafront and The Pier.
Proposal Site Policy PS7a: Tylers Avenue
The Council, will pursue with private sector partners the redevelopment of this site for high quality mixed development, including the provision of:1. quality larger retail units that create an expanded primary retail circuit integrated with the southern end of the High Street and The Royals;
2. supported by office and residential uses and provision of replacement car park if required, any proposed development will need to identify how any dislodged parking needs are to be met on site or in that part of the Town Centre;3. building design, form and massing that provides for:
- a permeable environment that is pedestrian friendly with active frontages on all ‘streets’;
- improved linkages to the Central Seafront and Eastern Esplanade via St John’s and Seaway Car Park Proposal Site;
- a good quality and functional relationship with The Royals Shopping Centre
- a good relationship with the residential areas to the east in terms of scale and massing;
- all servicing and deliveries from Chichester Road.
The Council, will pursue with private sector partners the redevelopment of this site in a manner which contributes to the objectives for the Tylers Avenue Quarter and meets the development principles outlined in Policy DP7 above. Proposal Site Policy PS7b: Pitman’s Close
408. Tylers Avenue has the potential to be at the heart of a new retail circuit, providing a high quality retail offer to complement the High Street. In addition to enhancing the offer, a high quality public realm with the potential to offer new provision for buses, the objective would be to create a relaxing and pleasurable shopping experience whilst also encouraging sustainable movement patterns. Within this area supporting office and residential uses will also add to the vitality of the Town Centre. Replacement car parking provision within the Tylers Avenue proposal Site will be subject to the performance of the Car Parking Strategy and forecast demand.
409. The site at Pitman’s Close is currently occupied by public toilets, however, a well designed development that provides active frontages to Chichester Road and Tylers Avenue and meets the development principles in Policy DP7 would contribute to delivering the objectives for this quarter.
410. The entire environment would be public space rather than highway. East-west connections between new and old should be strengthened by improving the public realm and the environment for walking and cycling. A new open space should be based around St Johns Church and including its churchyard to form the strategic hub of this Quarter, joining Tylers to the Central Seafront via Seaway Car Park Site in the south-east.
411. The Royals on the west and the new mixed use developments to the east would bring activity and natural surveillance to the space, as will its location between two main paths to the seafront.
412. The residential areas within this quarter should be improved by pursuing a ‘home zone’ approach to environment improvements and traffic management should general vehicle circulation be reduced.
10.2.8 Central Seafront Strategy
413. The extant of the Central Seafront covered by this strategy extends from Victoria Road in the east to the Cliffs Pavilion in the west and encompasses the area in the north east bounded by Queensway (including Seaway Car Park), Eastern Esplanade, Marine Parade and Pier Hill and the Pier, Western Esplanade and Cliff Gardens, the Shrubbery, and the foreshore.
414. A Delicate Balance
“One of the charms of the English seaside resort has been the broad base of their appeal. A trip to the seaside remains as much about winkles and jellied eels, a stick of rock even a kiss-me-quick hat as it does lobster thermidor, a caffe latte or fashionable boutiques. This is, however, no excuse for the garish shoddiness with which low quality private investment has scarred so many seafronts. For those resorts that wish to maintain their seaside holiday persona the trick is in getting the balance right and in raising the quality without losing the capricious charm that has long characterised the English seaside” - Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment ‘Shifting Sands’ (2003).
415. Objectives for the Central Seafront
- Rejuvenation of Southend’s Iconic Grade II listed Pier as a cultural, tourism and leisure landmark
- Deliver strategic development sites in accordance with planning policy and guidance
- Ensure that new development is supported by appropriate infrastructure and services, and minimises and mitigates against flood risk
- Protect and enhance the distinctive historic and natural environment
- Delivery of a first class cultural centre and New Southend Museum in Cliff Gardens at Western Esplanade with appropriate associated new uses
- Creating a high quality Central Seafront gateway which provide a seamless connection between the seafront, Pier Hill and the Town Centre
- Delivery of a high quality mix use development with a focus on retail, culture and leisure on Seaway Car Park / Marine Parade which successfully links with open space and green corridors via St. John’s Church and the Town Centre with the Central Seafront
- A high quality and seamless extension to the ‘City Beach’ Scheme along Eastern Esplanade
- Future development and rationalisation of the Adventure Island site and integration within Western Esplanade public realm improvements
- Improve transport, legibility, accessibility and connectivity by all modes of travel but fundamentally reduce the impact of the road and parking as a barrier to movement within the entire Central Seafront Area
- Provide a high quality and sustainable environment with well designed buildings, structures and spaces
- To promote, rebalance and enhance culture, leisure and tourism in the Central Seafront area and foreshore in accordance with designations (SSSI, Ramsar and SPA)
- Delivering of a public art, urban greening and lighting strategy for the central seafront area, including a dedicated creative lighting scheme for the Pier
- Provide a clean, safe, friendly, well managed and well maintained Central Seafront Area in the daytime and at night to attract a wider range of visitors
416. Policy considerations for all development
The policies within the Central Seafront Strategy should be read in conjunction with relevant policies and guidance at the national, regional and local level. In particular consideration should be given to and reference made in any application to the issues of flood risk, design, sustainability, carbon reduction and energy efficiency contained in the Southend on Sea Core Strategy, Design and Townscape Guide SPD and the Development Management DPD.
Central Seafront Perspective
417. The Seafront, Foreshore and the Thames Estuary, along with the areas of open countryside to the north and woodland to the east, provide an important and remarkable natural frame, which softens the more obviously urban character of Southend. With such an expansive and extensive area of Seafront, Foreshore and open water Southend has an incredible protected natural asset, which has been utilised extensively, particularly since Victorian times and the development of the railways. Indeed this period witnessed extensively development and the establishment of Southend as a major conurbation and destination for tourism and leisure.
418. The Central Seafront Area, a key feature of the town, has benefitted extensively from the volume of day trippers and those seeking a beach holiday since early Victorian times. This period saw major development along the Seafront, particularly notable are the Palace Hotel and the Kursaal Ballroom, which stand as significant landmarks along the seascape. The area also developed as a location for pleasure with amusement parks, boating lakes and gardens. Cliff Gardens and Shrubbery afford splendid views over the Thames Estuary and beaches offer safe bathing as well as locations for water sports.
419. The Grade II listed Southend Pier may be considered the jewel in Southend’s Seafront crown and is a major landmark. It is the longest pleasure Pier in the world extending to 1.34 miles. Historically the Pier was constructed to allow boat passengers to alight at Southend at all tides. This benefitted Southend greatly and allowed it to compete comfortably with other seaside locations. The pier has always been a location for leisure and entertainment facilities, but has been affected throughout its history by unfortunate events, having been severed on a number of occasion by ships and has suffered from a number of fires. In recent years there has been considerable investment at the Pier Head and at the entrance. Development of the Pier is set to continue into the 21st Century to restore its’ rightful position as a destination landmark for Southend.
420. It is acknowledged that Southend, like many other seaside locations, has been affected by the rise of foreign travel since the 1970s which saw a decline in its appeal and trade. Nevertheless, more recently, the rising cost of air travel and a resurgence of interest in domestic holidays have provided an opportunity for leisure and tourism destinations like Southend with extensive natural assets to exploit this growing market as Brighton has done. Southend, unlike some seaside towns, which seem to have fallen into irreparable decay, has retained an appeal and hosts a number of high profile events such as the Southend Airshow which draws in major visitors numbers. Southend’s appeal, reputation and status needs to be developed further so that Southend may establish itself as a destination of choice and secure its future success as a premier British seaside resort.
421. The foundations have been set with the first phase of City Beach, the restoration of the Kursaal and the Palace Hotel and the new entrance to Southend Pier delivering vast improvements to the seascape, public realm and accessibility to and from the Town Centre and High Street. Further improvements to the public realm, accessibility and open space, as well as exciting development opportunities which fuse the existing character with new structures and forms, to create a vibrant, inspiring and poignant destination, will ensure that Southend Central Seafront may complete with the very best.
422. The regeneration of the Central Seafront in combination with the plethora of proposed developments and improvements to the legibility, aesthetics and energy of the Town Centre, and their realignment as complementary engines of economic prosperity, will ensure delivery of a better Southend.
Distinctive Features of the Central Seafront Area
“The central area of the seafront is associated with a vibrant architectural style and sea-front leisure and pleasure. It provides a stark contrast to the orderly and mannered Victorian and Edwardian suburbs in the surrounding areas” Southend Borough wide Character Study (January 2011).
423. A key aim of the Strategy is to protect, maintain and improve the area as a seaside resort and as an important leisure and recreational resource for both visitors and residents. The Seafront is one of the most valued parts of the Town, drawing visitors from a wide area. It offers a unique setting, and includes historic buildings, open spaces and the promenade, all set against the backdrop of the Thames Estuary. High quality design, even in small scale structures, is therefore of paramount importance to maintain and enhance the appearance and appeal of this significant asset.
424. The Central Seafront is an area under intense pressure from a number of competing influences, including the strident leisure industry, intense residential development, the impact of through traffic and the constraining effect of the natural geography.
425. There are a number of distinctive features:
- Southend Pier is the major landmark in the Borough and is a grade II listed structure. Extending 1.34 miles into the Thames Estuary, it is the longest pleasure pier in the world. Sir John Betjeman once said that "the Pier is Southend, Southend is the Pier". One of the Boroughs lifeboat station's two boathouses is located at the pier head.
- Marine Parade is the central part of the Seafront Area running from the Pier to the Kursaal and features large scale buildings, mostly with extremely elaborate and vibrant front elevations. There are a number of distinctive buildings including the Hope Hotel, the Cornucopia, the Minerva and Falcon Public Houses and numbers 1 to 4 Marine Parade. The steep geography to the west means that Marine Parade effectively divides the Town from the Seafront, something which has been addressed to a degree by one of the newest local landmarks, the Pier Hill Tower.
- The Palace Hotel is the most imposing single building in the Central Seafront Area, and provides an example of a large bulky building on the Seafront which has become acceptable over time and is now listed. It has undergone major redevelopment to provide a combination of hotel and residential accommodation. It remains a substantial landmark.
- The Kursaal (Grade II listed) has a strong architectural character with soft red brick combining with stone detailing. A cast iron colonnade with glazed roof runs along the western elevation of the building which adds to the festive character. However, the most striking feature is the large glazed roof lantern topped with a lead dome. This gives the building its distinctive silhouette and makes it such a significant landmark.
- The Cliff Pavilion, a live theatre, is an imposing building which sits on the cliff at the western end of Cliff Gardens and the Shrubbery. The present building opened in 1964 but underwent redevelopment in the early 1990’s. It offers uninterrupted views of the Estuary and provides a gateway to the Central Seafront Area from a western approach.
- St. Johns Church, built in 1842, is Southend’s first parish church. It played an important role in the life of the growing seaside resort and had connections with many of the town’s leading figures. The church is gothic in appearance.
- Cliff Gardens and the Shrubbery is a blend of formal and informal gardens with beautiful views across the Thames Estuary. The Cliff Gardens are a short walk to the Town Centre, the Pier, the Cliff Pavilion Theatre and Adventure Island. The gardens were restored in 2006 as part of the Cliff Gardens restoration project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Within the area there is a funicular railway linking the base of the High Street with the Seafront and the new Pier entrance.
- Adventure Island which started out life in the 1920s as public gardens is situated on reclaimed land. Over the years a number of children’s rides were added and the area soon became known as “Peter Pan’s Playground”. In the 1990s the park expanded significantly to straddle both sides of the pier and has become a significant, if garish, landmark and destination.
The Council will support proposals which enhance the setting, appearance and character of important buildings and structures on the seafront. All development proposals must ensure that views, setting, and character are respected. Policy CS1: Landmark Buildings and Key Spaces
Town Centre and Central Seafront – ‘a seamless transition’
426. A key objective of this strategy is to create a seamless transition between the Central Seafront Area and the Town Centre. At present there are many barriers to movement between the two areas. Accessibility is still limited and there is little awareness of the proximity of the Seafront to the High Street, this severely hampers legibility. Indeed despite the High Street being on an axis to the coast, owing to the change in levels and the elevated railway bridge, which obstructs views south, there is no sense of the Seafront until the Pier Hill Tower is reached.
427. Clearly, there is a need to increase the accessibility by enhancing existing pathways and routes, removing impediments and barriers and creating new linkages to provide a number of opportunities to ‘ebb and flow’ between areas. It is envisaged that new paths of movement between the Central Seafront Area and the Town Centre may reflect the way a river delta meets the water’s edge. This approach would greatly increase permeability and encourage better functional links and overlaps between the different quarters and market sectors, increasing footfall and opportunities to contribute towards the local economy.
428. Improvements have already started with the development of a new public space and pathways linking Pier Hill with the Seafront, which also provides access to the Pier. Even though the recently installed lift, ramps and steps have improved access to the Seafront, the connectivity with the High Street may be improved further and additional public realm improvements would be necessary to create a clearly defined public space which would deliver a seamless transition between Town and Sea.
429. It is envisaged that a vast improvement in accessibility and legibility may be achieved by the creation of an extension to the existing public space, complemented and animated by remodelled active frontages to The Royals, the magnificently refurbished Palace Hotel and an extension to the public realm at the St John’s Church, morphing into a new high quality mixed use development at Seaway Car Park, providing yet further opportunities for pedestrians to meander to the seafront. Consideration should be given to the opportunities which may arise within the Seaway Car Park development to create a series of Spanish style steps, which may provide direct access from St. John’s Church via Seaway’s to Marine Parade. These steps may offer viewpoints and terraced public space for public amenity and quiet recreation.
430. The development of the Seaway Car Park site may also provide the option to create an attractive, green and well signed route between future development at Tylers Avenue and Marine Parade via Seaway’s. Again, there may be scope to create further areas of public open space, pocket parks and other points of interest for visitors and residents on route between the quarters.
431. Improvements to accessibility and the public realm would also be greatly complemented by the placement of well designed functional and creative lighting schemes. This would visually enrich the Central Seafront at night dramatising the water’s edge, bathing finer architectural details, enlivening Cliff Gardens, enhance the pedestrian environment leading to the Town Centre and create interest, identity and distinctiveness. Consideration should be given to the suitability of statues and other public art, as well as attractive historic or contemporary landmark buildings for creative lighting. A Lighting Strategy will ensure that there is a high quality co-ordinated approach to creative lighting, and compliment a public art strategy for this area and aid greatly the night time economy.
432. It would be appropriate, as such, for major development proposals to incorporate public art as an integral part of the design process or provide a financial contribution towards the cost of artistic features in the Public Art Strategy. Public art, including sculpture, murals, land works, unusual street furniture, lighting and architectural design can enrich new developments (either as part of the detailed design of a building or incorporated into public space within or around it), enhance the townscape, create interest and identity, reinforce local distinctiveness and contribute to the creation of a sense of place. The Council’s Public Art Strategy identifies opportunities and provides guidance on the provision of public art.
433. Public art will be used to strengthen the attraction of the Central Area to visitors, and the Council will encourage the provision of public art in particular along the Seafront promenade of Eastern and Western Esplanades and Marine Parade in particular in order to establish the Southend Seafront Art Trail. The Southend Seafront Art Trail will be used to encourage pedestrian activity along the Seafront, promoting links with the other Quarters, in particular the Town Centre and Clifftown Quarter.
434. Key principles have been developed for the Central Seafront Area to ensure that all development and public realm improvements and enhancements deliver the vision and objectives in a co-ordinated manner and create a vibrant, well designed, accessible, legible, permeable and successful destination for visitors and residents: a high quality 21st century cultural seaside destination resort.
1. Within the Central Seafront Area, the Council, through its role in determining planning applications, will: Policy CS2: Central Seafront Strategy - Key Principles
- support development opportunities that:
- broaden the leisure, tourism and cultural offer
- provide for appropriately located, high quality and sustainable housing development;
- secure the long term future of the Grade II listed Pier as a landmark and destination (Proposal Area CS6a),
- protect and enhance conservation areas, listed buildings and key landmarks;
- secure high quality and sustainable redevelopment of poor quality, vacant and underused sites and buildings to improve the environment and offer;
- create an attractive, green, high quality, well designed and well connected environment;
- contribute to creating well designed ‘gateways’ to mark, frame and enhance the main approaches to the Central Seafront Area;
- include environmental, landscaping and public realm improvements,
- require all development proposals in the Central
Seafront Area to:
- prepare a visual impact assessment as part of any development proposal;
- consider flood risk reduction and mitigation measures at the outset of all schemes, projects, works and development and ensure related works are integrated with the public realm;
- safeguard and where appropriate enhance the biodiversity importance of the foreshore and respect the European designations.
- promote the following public realm improvements:
- implement a rolling programme of improvements to the promenade and public spaces (further developing Phase 1 of the City Beach scheme), using high quality co-ordinated materials which are durable and easy to maintain;
- improve the quality of existing, and require the provision of new, interconnected public spaces, including “Southend Balcony” approach, a new public space combined with new active frontage on the seaward side of The Royals and “Spanish Steps” approach as part of major development proposals on Eastern Esplanade and Seaway Car Park (Proposal Area CS6b); and new public space as part of the New Museum (Proposal Area CS7a)
- preserve and enhance the scale and spaciousness of the seafront landscape;
- enhance the quality of public spaces, streets and passageways in and around the Kursaal Conservation Area,
- promote the following access improvements:
- Integration of the Seafront and Foreshore open space within a broader Southend ‘green grid’ of linked, functional green space to relieve visitor pressure on the Seafront;
- provide attractive walking and cycling routes both within Southend and access to the wider countryside;
- promote greater integration between the Town Centre and Central Seafront through the creation of attractive and well signed walking and cycling routes between them;
- Marine Parade and the High Street / Tylers Avenue retail circuit;
- Western Esplanade and the Clifftown Quarter;
- improve the environment and setting of the ‘mixed mode – shared priority’ routes along Eastern and Western Esplanades;
- improve the quality of the pedestrian and cycle environment, ensuring that routes are clear, legible, safe, well lit and convenient for all;
- improvements to the cycle network and linkages with Sustrans network.
- prepare and implement a Creative Lighting Strategy for the central seafront area;
- prepare a Public Art Strategy identifying opportunities for public art and seek the provision of public art or contributions towards it in association with major development;
- prepare an Urban Greening Strategy for the central seafront area;
- establish a Southend Seafront Art Trail along the seafront promenade of Eastern and Western Esplanades and Marine Parade and linked to a broader Central Area Art Trail;
- ensure all future sea defences and flood mitigation measures integrate seamlessly with the public realm.
436. To assist in reducing the risk of flooding, a Stage 1 & 2 SFRA for Southend has been prepared and agreed by the Environment Agency. This reviews the delineation of flood risk and provides detailed flood zone maps for further reference, after initially consulting the EA flood zone maps. It makes recommendations for future development based on the probability and consequence of flooding and promotes future sustainability within areas that are at risk from flooding. It will enable the Council to undertake the Sequential Test in line with the Government’s flood risk and development policy document - Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25): ‘Development and Flood Risk’ and the assessment of development proposals in the Central Seafront Area.
437. Development is only permissible in areas at risk of flooding in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that there are no reasonably available sites in areas of lower risk, and that the development provides wider sustainability benefits that outweigh the risk of flooding as in the Seafront regeneration area. Nevertheless it is recognised that such development should incorporate mitigation/management measures to minimise risk to life and property should flooding occur.
438. An agreement was made between the Council, the Government Office and the Environment Agency that the Sequential Test need only be applied within the Area Action Plan (AAP) boundaries specific to the development proposed in the AAP. The SCAAP includes the Seafront area proposed for regeneration. For the purposes of this AAP alone, the Sequential Test for the Central Seafront Area should only be compared to other sites in the wider Seafront regeneration area and not the entire SCAAP boundary.
439. The Level 2 SFRA includes the production of mapping illustrating flood depth, flood hazard and time to inundation which has been compared in two broad areas of development in order that the sequential approach can be applied within Flood Zones. It contains detailed maps illustrating the risk of flood, both tidal and surface water within the central seafront area as part of an in-depth study conducted for the SCAAP.
440. In areas identified as being at risk from flooding, detailed site based Flood Risk Assessment will be necessary to:
- assess the predicted flooding regime,
- ascertain the risk of flooding to the development
- assess the impact that the proposed development may have upon off-site flood risk;
- appraise the options to manage and reduce flood risk throughout the lifetime of the development, and
- address the residual risk to the site.
441. Proposed flood risk management measures should demonstrate future sustainability. The SFRA provides further guidance and is available separately from the Council.
442. Southend is also located within the coastal unit covering the area from Harwich to Canvey Island in the Essex Shoreline Management Plan completed in 1997. A second generation Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) is being undertaken between Languard Point to Two Tree Island and outputs were due in December 2010. The current preferred coastal defence policy put forward in this study is to hold the existing line of flood defence and this is not expected to change in the emerging SMP. All development proposals should refer to this study when developing their proposals.
Policy CS3: Flood Risk
The Central Seafront Area is identified by the Environment Agency as being liable to tidal flooding. The Council has prepared a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, in association with the Environment Agency, to complement PPS25 and has set out measures to manage and reduce flood risk, especially on major seafront development sites.1. Flood Risk Assessments (FRAs) will be required for major development proposals within Flood Zone 1 and all new development within Flood Zones 2 and 3 (3a and 3b). The FRA should be commensurate with the degree of flood risk posed to and by the proposed development and take account of the advice and recommendations set out in the Southend Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Stage 1 & 2 2010 (SFRA), including measures to be adopted by new development to reduce flood risk and meet the requirements of PPS25 (Development and Flood Risk).
2. Within Flood Zone 3b, functional floodplain, only water compatible uses and essential infrastructure (PPS25 Table D3) will be permitted, unless the site specific recommendations in the SFRA state otherwise.3. Within High Risk Zone 3a, development proposals should include the flood mitigation measures set out below as an integral part of the design process:
- land use on the ground floor must be limited to non-residential uses;
- floor levels must be situated above the 0.5% predicted maximum flood level plus climate change, incorporating an allowance for freeboard. The SFRA provides further guidance on raised floor levels and predicted flood depths;
- safe access and escape routes must be provided for evacuation in times of flood;
- access to basement areas must be situated above the predicted maximum flood level plus freeboard and all basements must be of a flood resilient construction;
- development must not result in an increase in maximum flood levels within adjoining properties,
- floor levels situated above the 1% (100 year) predicted maximum flood level plus climate change. The SFRA provides further guidance on raised floor levels and predicted flood depths,
- safe escape routes must be provided for evacuation in times of flood, even within areas where buildings are not directly affected.
This policy should be read in conjunction with Southend Core Strategy Policy KP1 and KP2 and Development Management Policy: DM6
Nature Conservation and Biodiversity
443. Southend's foreshore at the mouth of the Thames Estuary supports an abundance of habitats and wildlife and is Internationally important for migrating birds. Stretching 8.5 miles from Leigh to Shoeburyness, the foreshore is now managed to protect its wildlife.
444. Indeed the entire foreshore, south of the seawall, is designated for International and National sites for nature conservation. Particularly relevant to the Central Seafront Area are Benfleet and Southend Marshes (SPA and Ramsar site), which comprises the intertidal part of the Thames Estuary from Benfleet to Shoeburyness, which is predominantly occupied by mudflats, with small areas of saltmarsh and sandy beach.
445. Benfleet and Southend Marshes qualifies under article 4.2 of the EU Birds Directive by supporting:
- Internationally important populations of regularly occurring migratory species; and
- An internationally important assemblage of waterfowl
446. A Ramsar site is a site designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. A Special Protection Area (SPA) is a site of European importance for bird conservation, designated under the EC Birds Directive. Under the terms of the EC Habitats Directive national legislation, all Ramsar sites and SPA’s, are also sites of Special Scientific Importance (SSSI). SSSI’s are defined as sites of particular wildlife or geological importance, where measures are taken to promote the safeguarding and enhancement of this interest through the regulation of management activities and development. SSSI’s are designated by English Nature under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
447. Apart from their significance for wildlife the marshes also provide an attractive environment for both marine activities (sailing, bathing etc) and more passive enjoyment of the natural habitats and abundance of biodiversity. Indeed there may be excellent opportunities to design high quality visitor facilities which interpret the natural habitat giving visitors a better understanding of the ecosystems that support the various birds and other wildlife. All future activity and development will need to ensure that they do not adversely affect the interests of the nature conservation designations on the foreshore.
448. Biodiversity is the collective term given to the huge variety of life that exists today. Biodiversity is not restricted to rare or threatened species but includes the whole of the natural world from the commonplace to the critically endangered. It includes the plants and animals familiar to all of us in the places where we live or work, wherever that may be.
449. Biodiversity can be divided into three different levels:
- It is the broad range of different plant and animal species that occur,
- It includes the genetic differences within each species, for example, chromosomes, genes and DNA, which determine the uniqueness of each individual, and
- It also includes the variety of ecosystems, such as those that occur, for example, in forests, wetlands and lakes. In each ecosystem, living creature's form a community, interacting with one another and with the air, water and soil around them.
450. Southend's Local Biodiversity Action Plan is a direct result of an international agreement, to which the UK Government is a signatory, called the Convention on Biological Diversity. It describes and monitors the species which are apparent in Southend.
451. Developments which may affect a site of international or European nature conservation importance (SPA, Ramsar) will be subject to the rigorous examination in consultation with Natural England and other relevant authorities following the requirements set out in the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994 (as amended) (‘the Habitats Regulations’).
452. Even if certain development sites are located some distance from an international/ European site they may still have a detrimental impact on the site and will also need to be subject to a Habitats Regulations Assessment. Natural England should be consulted at the earliest stages of a planning application where it is possible that a development may have significant effects on an International or European site.
453. Where there is potential for a development to cause harm to a site of international or European nature conservation importance the applicant must submit appropriate biodiversity surveys, impact assessment and mitigation proposals to enable the Council to determine a planning application in addition to the appropriate assessment requirements.
454. If it cannot be demonstrated that the application will not adversely affect an International or European site, then the application will be refused, unless there are no alternative solutions and the development has to be carried out for imperative reasons of over-riding public interest as set out in Regulation 49 of the Habitats Regulations.
455. In such cases compensatory habitat will be required in accordance with Regulation 53. In addition, the Council will consider applying planning conditions or legal obligations to secure the integrity of the international or European site from any adverse impacts arising from the development.
Policy CS4: Nature Conservation and Biodiversity
The Council will:1. ensure that all development proposals are accompanied by an appropriate assessment and associated documentation to guarantee that the foreshore designations (SSSI, Ramsar and SPA) are respected and that there is no negative impact to them;
2. ensure that development proposals which are likely to have an adverse impact, either directly or indirectly, on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) will not be permitted;3. make exceptions only on a SSSI if it can be demonstrated that:
- there are no alternative solutions;
- the reasons for the development clearly outweigh the nature conservation value of the site and is in the public interest,
5. integrate the seafront and foreshore open space within a broader Southend ‘green grid’ of linked, functional green space to relieve visitor pressure on the seafront and protect the sensitivities of the biodiversity interest;6. consider favourably the development of a high quality visitor facility close to the foreshore which interprets the natural habitat in the area providing visitors a better understanding of the ecosystems and biodiversity.
456. There are significant opportunities to capitalise on the Foreshore and Thames Estuary, which is a very special asset to the Town. Promoting the Beach, Foreshore and Estuary to raise its profile will encourage greater use and enjoyment of it for a wide range of sport, recreation and leisure activities, including special events such as festivals and yachting events, whilst of course respecting the natural environment.
457. Improving marine activity facilities will encourage and attract more water based activities and users and visitors, and cater for leisure demand and tourism. Jetties, moorings and support facilities are vital components of an active and attractive waterfront. Beach and water based activities brings the area to life, adds interest and provides opportunities for sport and recreation. There is an opportunity to build on the success of water based sports and recreation in other seafront locations in the Borough and beyond.
Policy CS5: The Waterfront
The Council, with private sector partners and through the exercise of its planning powers and other initiatives will:1. promote the Beach, Foreshore and Estuary for appropriate cultural, leisure and tourism activities including the maintenance and enhancement of facilities for:
- Seafront, Beach and water based recreation activities and attractions including tidal paddling pools;
- marine and boat users, including moorings, support facilities (wharfs, jetties, landing stages and slipways), club facilities and information,
- pursuing a rolling programme of co-ordinated public real improvements to the promenade;
- protecting and enhancing all parks, gardens and other significant areas of green space;
- integrating the protection and interpretation of
biodiversity interests, heritage assets and landscape
feature, including views across the Estuary, into the
overall visitor experience through:
- provision of information and interpretation boards/facilities including making increasing use of mobile phone technology;
- themed walking and cycling circuits that are well signed, and link to a broader borough wide network,
4. promote the highest quality in all Central Seafront development (see Policy CS2);5. protect all estuary views from Westcliff Parade, Clifftown Parade, Clifton Terrace, Royal Terrace, Pier Hill, Western Esplanade, Marine Parade and Eastern Esplanade.
Proposals for waterfront development within the Central Seafront Area and improved facilities will need to demonstrate that there will be no unacceptable impact upon navigation, biodiversity, flood risk or the special character and designations.
Central Seafront - Marine Parade
458. There has always been a physical separation of the Central Seafront Area and Town Centre owing to the dramatic change in level in at the southern end of the High Street to the Seafront and Eastern Esplanade. It is considered that this dramatic change in level has proven to be a significant barrier and impediment to access and movement between these areas. If access was more straightforward and more pronounced there may be a better exchange of visitors between the Central Seafront and Town Centre increasing footfall in both areas and providing more opportunity for spend in the local economy.
459. This point is a crucial link joining the High Street and potential new retail areas to the seafront. The area also contains the entrance to the Pier, Adventure Island and provides a main access point to the Central Seafront. The area is dominated by the Palace Hotel which has recently been extensively modernised and refurbished to a high standard. Below this on the Marine Parade itself there is a terrace facing the sea that consists mainly of large amusement arcades that are interspersed with smaller food and drink establishments.
460. In stark contrast to the grandeur of the Palace Hotel building, the majority of the buildings along Marine Parade feature bold and exuberant external decoration. The “Golden Mile” is particularly recognisable for its garish architecture, gaudy signage and dense concentration of leisure uses. It may be argued quite convincingly that this particular type of frontage represents a significant defining and unique feature of the Southend identity that should be celebrated rather than berated.
461. Interestingly, this exterior decoration often masks a mix of buildings and a good deal of valuable historic fabric, some which show mid-Victorian origins in their bay windows. Interestingly, both the neon and the underlying historic fabric have substantial elements which may merit some form of conservation protection in order to maintain the grain and character of the area. Marine Parade also has a number of listed and local listed buildings which form important elements of the historical development of the south end of Prittlewell.
462. Although not formally classified as buildings the rides and installations of Adventure Island also lend the Central Seafront a very lively character and in some cases are substantial landmarks in their own right.
463. Regeneration and development of this area will require a careful thought to ensure that the vision and objectives may be achieved for the area without losing the essence of what made it great in the first place. A successful seaside resort destination has quality but does not lose it’s charm.
464. The buildings along the entire seafront have witnessed pressure for more intensive redevelopment. Indeed a number of tall and bulky buildings have been developed along the Seafront, particularly in recent years. Whilst some of these, such as the more historic Palace Hotel, have graduated to the point of general local affection, many of the more recent examples are regarded as having a detrimental effect on the character of the seafront. Inappropriate development in the central seafront area will result in:
- Loss of historic grain and character
- Affected views and daylight of properties in land
- Tall buildings being constructed in locations which neither require a significant landmark, nor offer the services and transport infrastructure to be classed as sustainable
465. Fundamentally whilst redevelopment may provide a fantastic opportunity to further develop and enhance the leisure and tourism offer, it will be equally important to maintain the integrity of the elements which established it initially and made it a significant destination in the first place. These assets should be built upon; it is a delicate balance.
466. Adventure Island is also a major tourism asset to Southend but its physical form tends to be inward looking and isolated from its urban context. It also obscures esplanade level views and routes to the sea. If redevelopment and expansion does occur options should be explored with the owner about how changes within the site could simultaneously benefit the public realm by creating a more permeable boundary and incorporating active frontages to increase footfall around the site edges.
467. The public space along the Central Seafront has recently been the subject of major streetscape investment. These works should assist Marine Parade with its evolution into an attractive destination for pedestrians (where vehicles are discouraged but may proceed with caution), flanked by cafes and other activities to spill out and enliven the space.
468. In the longer term there may be opportunities to create a more radical landmark redevelopment within this area, building on the improvement already made to Pier Hill. A series of viewpoints and destination spaces may help connect and draw interest from the town to the Pier and Adventure Island. In the shorter term, nevertheless, it may be feasible to create an upper level public piazza which may complement the existing recently-completed lift tower and step/ramp arrangement, as well as forming the first phase of the longer term scheme.
469. The Central Seafront Area is well placed to promote tourism and attract more visitors to support Town Centre facilities. Further high quality hotel accommodation would be required to satisfy the increase in visitors brought about by the regeneration of the Town Centre and Central Seafront Area. This approach is qualified by the Southend Hotel Feasibility Study which confirms that Southend requires additional quality hotel provision in the central locations like the Central Seafront Area to provide accommodation for business and leisure visitors, including a large format events facility, to add to the range of attractions and increase tourism further. It is essential that all new hotel development should be high quality taking full advantage in design and character of the panoramic views and seaside environment.
1. The Council through it role in determining planning decisions and other initiatives will: Policy CS6: Central Seafront Development Principles
- seek new high quality mixed use development focussed on providing an uplift to leisure and tourist facilities, new housing and multi story car park for Proposal Area CS6b – Seaway Car Park and Marine Parade;
- secure the long term future of the iconic Grade II listed Pier as a landmark and destination through its restoration, maintenance and enhancement (Proposal Area CS6a);
- consider favourably proposals associated with the central seafront which enhance or diversify the range of arts, culture, entertainment, leisure and recreational facilities, subject to an assessment of the scale, character, location and impact of the proposal on existing facilities and Foreshore Designations;
- promote the provision of further high quality fully serviced hotels, subject to satisfactory access and parking provision;
- promote the following access and public realm
- create a well defined piazza area at the south end of the High Street between The Royals, The Palace Hotel and Pier Hill and encourage new and existing uses to provide active frontages that would face onto the new public space;
- promote the provision of new interconnected public spaces that provide urban ‘green’ havens within the area;
- use imaginative and creative lighting and strategically placed public art to strengthen identity and connectivity;
- remove unnecessary street furniture and rationalise signage;
- provision of a permeable boundary to Adventure Island to provide views in and through the site;
- implement a rolling programme of improvements to the promenade and public spaces (further developing Phase 1 of the City Beach scheme), using high quality co-ordinated materials which are durable and easy to maintain;
- new and enhanced walking and cycling linkages between the High Street and Seafront via St John’s Church, Seaway through onto Marine Parade; via the High Street and Pier Hill;
- improve pedestrian linkages between Western Esplanade and the Seafront;
- completion of Sustrans Cycle route within this area.
- Junction improvements at Queensway/Seaway Car Park/Chancellor Road.
470. Southend Pier has the potential to be rediscovered and rejuvenated as a landmark destination with appeal to both residents and visitors. A subtle approach should be considered which seeks to celebrate and respect the Pier as a Victorian heritage asset but also encourages uses which would draw in and excite visitors.
471. Following a fire at the pier head there is scope to re-provide a contemporary, mix of cultural and leisure activities at the end of the Pier. At the land end there is potential for a contemporary pavilion with a mix of leisure and entertainment uses during the daytime and in the evening.
472. In addition there may be scope to deliver a new state of the art Pier train service as well as a programme of general maintenance to the Pier structure. In the longer term there is also potential to develop a creative lighting strategy for the Pier and incorporate contemporary public art or sculpture at the Pier-head, re-inventing the Pier and creating a visually stimulating and striking spectacle in the evening.
1. The Council will pursue, with private sector partners and other initiatives, the rejuvenation of The Pier by; Proposal Area Policy CS6a: Southend Pier
- continuing to maintain its structural integrity;
- protecting and enhancing the pier train service;
- promoting the provision of:
- a contemporary mix of cultural and leisure activities reflecting relaxation, and the maritime and environmental assets at the seaward end
- a contemporary pavilion at the land end;
- occupying uses such as cafes, shops, events, heritage centre, small scale moorings for visiting ships etc;
- deckchairs and telescopes encouraging people to relax, enjoy the views and the promenade;
- facilities for traditional activities such an angling,
- prepare and implement a creative lighting strategy along the Pier.
Seaway / Marine Parade Gateway
473. Seaway Car Park is a large site situated behind the amusement arcades on Marine Parade and abutts the nightclubs which front onto Lucy Road. It slopes from west to east and offers extensive opportunities for redevelopment. To the western side of Seaway Car Park and largely hidden from view is St. John’s Church and churchyard, separated from Seaway Car Park by a row terraced houses in Herbert Road.
474. It is considered that there is a major opportunity for a mix used development at Seaway Car Park which may be brought forward in conjunction with future development on Marine Parade. St. John’s Church may be incorporated into the scheme as a focus and landmark for way finding and a new public space. This approach would result in a complimentary retail circuit to the existing high street.
475. Retail is a core function of Southend Town Centre and features as a major component of the overall mix of uses on many sites. A development at Seaway Car Park will have a significant impact in creating a step change in the quality of the retail offer as well as increasing cultural and leisure uses to diversify and compliment the existing offer. Any residential development as part of the scheme should focus on delivering the types of dwellings needed in Southend.
476. The is an opportunity for the residential development to be arranged so that dwellings front directly onto the streets and contribute to an active, secure and well overlooked public realm and re-establish the fine urban grain. It would be necessary for a masterplan for this site to include a strategy for boundary treatments to ensure that there is a clear distinction between private and public space and avoid problematic areas which exhibit little or no sense of ownership. It would also need to consider how to create defensible space to entrances, yet still allow good surveillance as well as security and privacy.
477. It is envisaged that all dwellings would have easy access to private, communal or public outdoor areas. Communal gardens should be situated to create pleasant microclimates ‘Playable landscapes’ should be provided near home for young children. As much as possible of the site should be pedestrian orientated public space/shared space rather than highway. East-west connections between new and old should be strengthened by extensive tree planting and by marking junctions as recognisable nodes to breakdown the psychological length of the existing streets and assist way finding.
478. Allied to the new mixed use development should be key spaces, places and enhanced routes to provide places for people to congregate and provide one of a number of seamless and pleasant routes between the Town Centre and the central Seafront.
479. The scale and character of the Seafront provides an opportunity to experiment with new and different structures and materials in developments, and offers scope for designing low impact buildings which could become attractions in their own right. Any proposal must help people locate themselves and find their way around the Seafront by creating and emphasising landmarks, orientation points, views and vistas, and by better marking and signing of routes. Development should also recognise the need to respect important historic buildings both in terms of their fabric and setting and their value as local landmarks, particularly, the Kursaal, the Hope Hotel and 1-3 Marine Parade and 4 Marine Parade Listed Buildings.
480. There may also be an option to create an enhanced pedestrian priority link focuses on the historic façade of St John’s Church, from where the public realm may transcend seamlessly to take a new green public spaces created among the churchyard, and onwards to Seaway or via ‘Spanish steps’ to the Central Seafront Area. The Royals on the west and the new mixed use developments to the east at Seaway would bring activity and natural surveillance to the space, as will its location between two main paths to the seafront.
481. It would be necessary to retain the churchyard as predominantly a green park as part of any scheme to compliment the new built environment, with the site’s legacy as a graveyard respected. At design stage, careful consideration must be given to the balance between openness and enclosure and to management regimes. Robust design, like locating seating in ‘honeypots’ away from sensitive zones, and simple elements like raised edges will ensure that the park can absorb more intense use without erosion of its character or fabric.
482. This approach would create a critical mass in this area and contribute towards the redefining of the Central Seafront and Pier Hill area and the connection between the Town Centre and Seafront.
The Council will pursue with private sector partners and private landowners and developers the redevelopment of this area for high quality mixed use development, including the provision of: Proposal Area Policy CS6b – Seaway Car Park and Marine Parade
1. leisure, cultural and tourism attractions including restaurants, digital gallery destination space and quality hotel offer together with new housing and re-provision of car parking;2. design and layout solutions that allow for:
- remodelling of the urban form to create:
- a north-south axis which makes a clear sight line from Queensway to the sea;
- a stronger relationship with the Town Centre in particular to the expanded retail circuit in the Tylers Quarter;
- a new link to Marine Parade designed around the ‘Spanish Steps’ concept of the stepped public urban space;
- A series of public and semi-public terraces that negotiate the level change from Tyler’s Avenue through Seaway to Marine Parade,
- active and/or attractive frontages to all new and existing streets and spaces;
- appropriately sited taller buildings to take advantage of the estuary views provided they do not cause undue overshadowing or be detrimental to the amenity of neighbouring development;
- materials and colour to reflect the vibrancy and colour of the seaside;
- use of sustainable construction techniques and renewable technology appropriate to the type and scale of development and incorporate best environmental practice in design and layout.
All development will be required to demonstrate how flood risk has been taken into account and the measures which have been taken to mitigate against it if required.
Western Esplanade, The Cliffs and Shrubbery Gateway
483. This area is less developed, more low key and is less frenetic in character than Marine Parade and Eastern Esplanade. It affords stunning views, Victorian heritage and extensive greenery on the cliff slope. It is a location for more relaxed and quite pursuits such as a stroll along the promenade or through Cliff Gardens.
484. Cliff Gardens and the Shrubbery provide a particularly unique form of open space and prove popular with both residents and visitors. This environment provides an extremely positive definition of the character of Southend and contributes to its position as a leading and popular seaside resort.
485. Southend Cliff Gardens is a substantial open space, it incorporates a blend of ornamental gardens and woodlands and a funicular railway on the Cliffs which slope down to the Western Esplanade and the formal promenade along the Seafront. Linear parks have been created to allow this to be enjoyed with formal pleasure gardens on the clifftops changing to more informal spaces with scrub vegetation and meandering footpaths in some parts of the cliff sides.
486. Along the Seafront itself, vegetation is limited although the central reservation of the Western Esplanade contains a broken line of Tamarisk (a traditional seafront plant) and Adventure Island is planted with a mix of evergreen shrubs around its perimeter.
487. For all the positive features the area has, nonetheless, it has developed a somewhat tired appearance in recent years. Some very good qualities and elements already exist, but they need to be revealed, enhanced and connected. Indeed at present there is an unclear path system with many ad-hoc ‘desire lines’ throughout Cliff Gardens.
488. There is an opportunity to create a green heritage trail from the Town Centre connecting the conservation area, cultural and garden features. This work may also incorporate rationalisation of and upgrade to the path system and seating. Furthermore there is scope to upgrade the Cliffs Pavilion outdoor space and improve its connection to the Cliffs. This may also include the renovation of the historic Cliff lift which reopened in May 2010. The legacy of Victorian structures and formal gardens remnants could be retained and reinstated to their former splendour.
489. The built area at the top of the cliffs comprises Clifftown conservation area. There is a need to explore further the opportunities for cliff stabilisation to secure this area and create a new attraction and destination in Southend. An engineering study has been commissioned by the Council to assess the stability of the Cliff and advise on remediation measures. There is one area of cliff slippage which requires extensive repair.
490. The remedial work to stabilise the Cliffs will, when commissioned, incorporate additional measures to provide development opportunities for a cultural centre (including a new museum). A new cultural centre within the cliff face may feature a range of displays including the internationally significant Saxon King find as well as catering for temporary exhibitions of touring exhibits. It may also feature an ‘arthouse’ cinema, flexible conference/ event space and car parking.
491. With the potential to accommodate parking inside the slope, there is the opportunity to free up some surface level public space and parking on the Esplanade. This would allow the opportunity to improve the quality of the public realm on Western Esplanade, which presently is dominated by tarmac and vehicles with little seating, interest or recognition of Seafront location.
492. The incorporation of seaside tree planting between parking bays and along the Seafront and resurface Western Esplanade and at least part of the road to reduce impact and vehicular association of tarmac and create a suite of consistent bold lighting and furniture would improve the environment significantly. Strong pedestrian links should be made from the seafront to key points in the Cliffs and consideration will be given to additional public realm improvements.
493. In addition there is an opportunity to introduce a Western Esplanade traffic management parking and walking and cycling scheme including SUSTRANS route improvements.
The Council, with private sector partners, private landowners and developers and through the exercise of its planning powers and other initiatives will: Policy CS7: Western Esplanade, The Cliffs and Shrubbery
1. seek to enhance the quality, accessibility and connectivity between the Seafront and the Town Centre within this area, making best use of sea views;2. consider favourably development proposals along Western Esplanade near or close to the foreshore:
- where they are associated with quiet leisure, cultural and tourism activities including bird watching, sailing, maritime recreation and other acceptable water based pursuits;
- which ensure that foreshore designations (SSSI, RAMSAR and SPA) are respected and are in not compromised – all proposals will need to produce an appropriate assessment to demonstrate this,
investigate all reasonable options for cliff stabilisation at Western Esplanade (see Proposal Area Policy CS7a Cultural Centre and new Southend Museum);4. promote the following access and public realm improvements:
- retaining, enhancing as well as re-instating the legacy of the Victorian structures and formal gardens on the Cliff and within the Shrubbery;
- rationalise and enhance the existing pathway and improve biodiversity and planting within this area;
- promote the application of vibrant and interesting surfacing on the promenade in addition to the placement of appropriate structures, street furniture and art for a seaside location to provide a focus and stimulus;
- promote the creation a cultural/heritage trail from the Town Centre, connecting with the Clifftown conservation area and the Cliff gardens and Shrubbery;
- provide a continuation of the improvement to the promenade associated with the City Beach scheme with new lighting, furniture, greening and public art;
- retention of seafront parking but removal of occasional bays to provide better pedestrian links from the promenade to the Cliffs and Town Centre;
- incorporate seaside tree planting between seafront bays and along the Seafront,
All development proposals in the vicinity of the Cliff frontages must have regard to Development Management Policy DM15 ‘Environmental Protection’.
Cultural Centre and new Southend Museum
494. A new cultural centre within the Cliff face may feature a range of displays including the internationally significant Saxon King find as well as catering for temporary exhibitions of touring exhibits. It may also feature an ‘arthouse’ cinema, flexible conference/ event space and car parking.
495. The New Museum is to provide for the permanent display of the best elements of the collections of the Central Museum and Beecroft Gallery in a new high quality iconic building, to support a comprehensive multimedia story of the people of Southend, the Thames Estuary and the South East Essex region.
496. Additional galleries and exhibition spaces will support a lively programme of temporary exhibitions and events, drawing on the reserve collections, loans from other museums and touring exhibitions, to ensure there is a continuous and varying offer for residents and visitors and promotes repeat visits.
497. Other high quality facilities will include a planetarium, dedicated collections store with associated curatorial facilities, a museum shop, café, restaurant and licensed bar for visitors and corporate users.
498. The siting of the new building within the cliff face will maximise attendance, accessibility, links with other cultural and educational resources, a heritage trail and view of estuary, as well as helping to stabilise the cliffs.
499. As the new Cultural Centre and new Southend Museum is located so prominently within Cliff Gardens, it has been necessary to carefully consider the preservation of access to and around the Gardens, and the surrounding historical environment, as well as views to and from it, whilst conceiving the external appearance of the building.
500. The building will be set within the cliffs to ensure that it does not impact negatively on the views of the Estuary and the setting of the Cliff Gardens. The innovative and contemporary design will ensure that it adds significant value and interest to the area, providing a high quality destination space and an iconic landmark development, incorporating sustainability and low carbon techniques and measures.
501. The concept for the building includes glass “eyelids” opening out of the Cliff providing spectacular views over the Estuary and allowing the vast majority of the Gardens to remain open and accessible to the public. This will create an animated façade, creating reflections of the sea and sky. At night these windows will act as huge illuminated show cases for the Museum exhibits.
502. Car parking will be included as part of the scheme providing more than 100 public spaces as well as facilities for cyclists.
1. The following principles will be promoted as key consideration for development of a Cultural Centre and new Southend Museum: Proposal Area Policy CS7a Cultural Centre and new Southend Museum
- creation of a exemplary high quality development which incorporates low carbon, energy efficient and sustainability measures as part of the overall design approach;
- accommodation of car parking within the slope of the cliff as part of the development (including an area for cycle storage for visitors);
- create a flexible development (approximately 8,000 square meters) which will include a cultural centre with exhibition space, the new Southend Museum, galleries, conference / events space and explore the opportunity for an ‘arthouse’ cinema as well as a café, restaurant and licensed facility;
- provide for any other appropriate uses which will enable delivery of the development and assist with the stabilisation of the cliff face.
- Create a new high quality green space including amphitheatre, linked to the High Street and Seafront via Cliff Gardens, Prittlewell Square and Clifftown Quarter.
Eastern Esplanade and City Beach Gateway
503. Eastern Esplanade is much livelier than its western counterpart. There are few barriers or structures which separate it from seaward side of Marine Parade unlike Western Esplanade. As such it has many commonalities with it including a number of public houses, amusement arcades and restaurants. It also includes the Southend Sealife Centre, a mini golf facility and public toilets as well as the Kursaal within its boundary, marking the point at which Eastern Esplanade and Marine Parade meet.
504. There also contains two conservation areas. Eastern Esplanade Conservation area is associated with the resort's early period before the major expansion in the late 19th century. It contains mainly domestic buildings and, in particular, a terrace of early to mid 19th century cottages reputed to have been built for local fishermen.
505. The Kursaal conservation area is a compact area associated both with Southend's origins and its later growth into a major resort. Buildings of particular interest are the Minerva Public House (now Tiffins Restaurant) which was built in 1792. It was in the centre of the hamlet at the time of its early development as a small resort. It is now a restaurant and much altered. The Britannia, which was built in the early late 18th century, was later converted to an inn catering for visitors. The Kursaal, originated part of the Marine Park laid out in 1894. It was built in the south west corner of the Park to form a grand entrance. Designed by George Sherrin in 1896, the buildings were not completed until 1901.
506. Along Eastern Esplanade there is the prospect of enhancing the impressive and spacious nature of the seafront landscape. The longevity and attractiveness of this part of the Seafront will depend on well designed walkways, promenades and other pedestrian routes. Eastern Esplanade, therefore, should aim to provide a continuation of the high quality promenade and soft and hard landscaping completed in phase 1 of City Beach, creating a gateway to the Central Seafront Area from the east.
507. The placement of existing and future City Beach leisure activities in this area should ensure the appeal of the promenade for all age groups and should help to cement Southend’s position as a 21st Century seaside resort destination. The Council is developing proposals for the second phase of City Beach further to the east along Jubilee Beach from the Kursaal to Esplanade House (former gas works site). Future phases should help to ensure that Eastern Esplanade becomes a promenade for people rather than being dominated by the highway. It will be important to ensure that the landscape provides a strong, memorable identity and draw in visitors.
508. There is further opportunity for a future phase of City Beach to consolidate major development proposals which are being taken forward at the junction of Marine Parade and Southchurch Avenue and along Eastern Esplanade. All development proposals in this area should be of the highest quality as they will form part of the Gateway to the eastern approach to the central seafront area.
509. There is also the prospect of creating a bold and interesting landmark development at the site of the old Gasworks, which may include a quality hotel and conference facility as part of a mixed use development. A future refurbishment and/or redevelopment of the Sealife Centre also presents a significant opportunity. In essence, it is envisaged that a number of exemplar buildings would mark the water’s edge along the Eastern Esplanade.
510. As such an innovative approach to the design of new landscape is required, especially the integration of new development close to the conservation areas. High standards of design are expected in terms of form, fitness for purpose and choice of material (including plant materials).
511. In addition there is scope to relocate/reconfigure existing parking opposite the Kursaal and downgrade the junction. Improve crossing and redesign the area as a public entertainment space visually and physically sympathetic to the building. Explore possibilities to redevelop/relocate redundant lavatories and crazy golf and install new kiosks for small scale seaside businesses.
Policy CS8: Eastern Esplanade and City Beach Gateway
The Council, with private sector partners, private landowners and developers and through the exercise of its planning powers and other initiatives, will:1. ensure that all development proposals within this area:
- respect and complement the two existing and adjoining conservation areas, namely Kursaal and Eastern Esplanade conservation areas;
- respect the scale, form and character of historic, listed and significant buildings, and retain and integrate them within an appropriate setting as part of a scheme;
- include an activity frontage at ground floor level, adding to the vibrancy and vitality of the streetscene, introverted and ‘pod-like’ development will be actively discouraged;
- are of high quality design and appropriate for a prominent Seafront location,
3. support the construction of a high quality hotel and conference facility as part of a mixed use development on the site of the old gas works;4. support the regeneration and enhancement of the Woodgrange Drive Estate (see policy CS8a Woodgrange Drive (Kursaal) Estate);
5. encourage improvement to the Sealife Centre through redesign or redevelopment, possibly as part of a further phase of public realm and environmental improvements;6. encourage redevelopment of redundant lavatories and crazy golf site;
7. explore opportunities to create a well designed coach drop off point on Eastern Esplanade for access to the seafront;8. promote the following access and public realm improvements by:
- installing bold public art at strategic locations to enhance the waterfront identity and attract visitors along the length of the promenade;
- introducing further greening and landscaping (including tree planting) and to enrich the waterfront and creative public lighting to increase safety for evening activities;
- removing superfluous features to pedestrian movement and create more pedestrian priority shared space;
- increasing further public space and seating space for shops, cafes and restaurants;
- relocating existing car parking situated opposite the Kursaal to create further usable space;
- designing the junction and area outside the Kursaal as a public entertainment space, whilst being visually and physically sympathetic to the historic building,
Proposals for Seafront development along Eastern Esplanade will need to demonstrate that there will be no unacceptable impact upon navigation, biodiversity, flood risk or the special character and designations.
Woodgrange Drive (Kursaal) Estate
512. The Woodgrange Drive Estate or the Kursaal Estate is a larger purpose built social housing estate constructed in the 1970s on the site of the former Kursaal amusement park. The estate comprises a number of large blocks of flats and pockets of houses based around a single one way access road linking with smaller service roads for the different residential elements. The site is has reasonably significant amenity areas and green space.
513. Like many other estate of this period, the Woodgrange Drive Estate, owing to its construction, design and layout, has not assisted with the integration of its’ residents with the local and wider community. Unfortunately the blocks and houses are mostly inward facing and have no real relationship with the surrounding area. The residential blocks are of a very different scale and nature to the surrounding residential streets and do not face onto the existing road network. The routes and pathways throughout the site do not facilitate good surveillance and the safety of the residents and visitors.
514. As such the Estate would benefit greatly from regeneration and enhancement to address some of the issues which has arisen since its construction. Proposals to reconnect the site with the surrounding street and provide an enhanced environment for residents will be welcomed, as well as those which look to create a more mixed and cohesive community.
1. The Council will support proposals by public sector partners to regenerate and enhance this site for housing, including social housing, by using solutions to re-integrate it with the surrounding residential area. Proposal Area Policy CS8a: Woodgrange Drive (Kursaal) Estate
2. Parts of this Proposal Area lies within Flood Zone 2 and 3 and all proposals for development should accord with Core Strategy KP1 and KP2 and have regard to the SFRA, the Local Flood Risk Partnership’s Surface Water Management Plan and the Borough Council’s emerging Local Flood Risk Management Strategy when approved.3. Proposals should consider incorporation of low carbon technologies, energy efficiency measure and techniques to increase sustainability and reduce the carbon footprint of the development.
10.2.9. ‘Victorias’ Gateway Neighbourhood
515. This Gateway Neighbourhood is bounded by the Southend Victoria / London Liverpool Street Railway line to the east, Fairfax Drive to the north, Shakespeare Drive/Salisbury Avenue in the east and Queensway in the South. Importantly it contains the Town’s traditional Office Quarter including the civic quarter (Council Offices, Police Station and Law Courts Library and Museum), Churchill Gardens and Prittlewell Conservation Area; Southend United Football Club ground ‘Roots Hall’ and a large area of high density housing ranging from Tower Blocks, through small and villa terraces to larger detached properties. It also contained a large areas of ‘non-conforming uses’ such as warehousing and run down industries between North Road and Salisbury Avenue that are been redeveloped for residential uses over time and helping to improve the environment and amenities of the North Road area.
516. Prittlewell Conservation Area to the north of the Central area is an important heritage area, and also forms a key gateway on the main route into the Town Centre. This conservation area contains some of the Town’s oldest and most important buildings such as St. Mary’s Church, 255 and 275-279 Victoria Avenue but for a long time this area has been in need of regeneration. It suffers from high vacancy rates, deteriorating building fabric and the detrimental impact of the traffic at the junction of Victoria Avenue and East / West Street in particular.
517. Southend United Football Club have plans to relocate their Stadium creating an opportunity to redevelop a wider area for a mixed use development incorporating the preferred location for a Sainsburys store (relocating from the Sainsbury’s Site See Policy PS2a), additional housing and business, leisure and community development
518. Fine brick built 2 storey water pumping station, adjacent buildings and large area of hard-standing with blocks of garages on northern and eastern boundaries. Within a primarily residential area comprising 2 storey semi-detached 1930's housing.
519. Within this area there are three Proposal Sites. The biggest challenge for this neighbourhood is to address the large amount of underused, vacant and outmoded office buildings in Victoria Avenue Quarter that contributes little to the streetscape at such an important gateway or the economy. Indeed the presence of such a large amount of office space is driving down rental values and hindering the objectives of this Area Action Plan to shift the provision of Grade ‘A’ Office uses to within the Town Centre proper.
520. Consultation on the issues and options for the future of this area indicated support for a housing led mixed area but based on a totally different urban form. There exists therefore, an excellent opportunity to transform the built environment and create a sustainable mixed use community within The Victoria Avenue Site (PS9a). This would both provide an exciting gateway to a vibrant town centre but also integrate well with the neighbourhood.
521. The wider community can also be enhanced by the provision of increased opportunities for cultural and leisure facilities. Opportunities exist to reinforce the temporary cultural uses on the Former Essex and Suffolk Water Board Site PS9b and establish greater linkages with the immediate community. This would build on activities at Prittlewell Chapel, the historic assets of the Prittlewell Conservation Area and the adjacent Priory Park.
522. There are further opportunities to reinforce a sustainable community in this neighbourhood by developing housing and employment facilities on the Roots Hall and environs Proposal Site PS9c. Southend Untied Football Club have indicated a desire to relocate and have planning approval to redevelop its current ground and adjacent land to include a large supermarket at the junction of Victoria Avenue and Fairfax Drive and housing.
523. Objectives for ‘Victoria’ Gateway Neighbourhood
- Create an integrated, high quality residential community where people of all ages want to live.
- Make the most of, and enhance, the quality heritage of the Prittlewell Conservation Area to drive forward regeneration.
- Bring about the transformation of the traditional Victoria Avenue office area to provide for a vibrant mixed use community which is integrated with the surrounding neighbourhood and set within a remodelled built form of a quality that befits this significant gateway to the Town Centre
- Provide significant additional housing which demonstrates best practices regarding sustainable design, construction and living.
- Provide employment premises, particularly the kind which would be attractive to small businesses or provide room to grow for innovators and entrepreneurs .
- A thriving local shopping centre on East Street.
- Victoria Avenue as a beautiful boulevard signalling the gateway to the town centre with cafes and good quality public space along its length.
Council will pursue, with public and private sector partners, the determination of planning applications and other initiatives: Policy DP9: Victoria Gateway Neighbourhood Development Principles
1. the protection and enhancement of the heritage assets of Prittlewell Conservation Area, and will promote the preservation and regeneration of the vacant and deteriorating historic buildings (Policy HE3);2. the transformation of the land within Proposal Site PS9a Victoria Avenue, into a sustainable mixed use community led by a clear planning framework for the area;
3. the development of enhanced cultural facilities and creative industries on Proposal Site PS9b Former Essex and Suffolk Water Board Site;4. in the event of Southend Untied Football club relocating their stadium, redevelop Proposal Site PS9c Roots Hall Football Ground and environs with mixed use development to deliver additional housing, and business uses and supermarket;
5. consider the provision of additional Higher and Further Education facilities based on an assessment of the expansion needs of the University of Essex and South Essex College when and where appropriate development opportunities arise;6. the provision of a new primary health care facility on North Road to meet local needs in this area in line with planning permission;
7. the provision of a primary school when required within Proposal Site PS9a8. promote the following access and public realm improvements:
- a priority route for sert linking the Central Area with London Southend Airport and adjacent development areas, including corresponding improvements at the junctions between the A127 at Fairfax Drive and East Street (Policy TA1);
- appropriate enhancements to North Road, including civic space at junction with Chelmsford Avenue, to uplift the residential environment, provide for walking and cycling, and improve linkages to East Street local shopping centre, Cultural Facilities at TAP and Prittlewell Chapel;
- consideration of appropriate expansion of the public realm utilising the Victoria Avenue service road in association with development proposals within Proposal Site PS9a Victoria Avenue;
- the provision of public through routes, by a variety of modes, through development areas to improve access and linkages between where people live, employment areas, cultural facilities and parks both within the Neighbourhood and to the wider Borough;
- urban greening projects, including the creation of new public and private green space within new development;
- enhancement of the existing Civic Space (including the Holocaust Memorial) on the east side of Victoria Avenue between the Civic Centre and Law Courts, and its integration with the broader area.
The Council will pursue the upgrading and enhancement of this area with private sector land and property owners and developers by supporting applications that seek to regenerate and integrate the edge of Town Centre Retail Park north of London Road. Consideration of potential uses will be influenced by the development needs of the University of Essex and South Essex College.
1. The Council will pursue the transformation of this area to provide for a vibrant mixed use community which is integrated with the surrounding neighbourhood and set within a remodelled built form of a quality that befits this significant gateway to the Town Centre. Proposal Site Policy PS9a: The Victoria Office Area Site
2. The Council will prepare Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPD) to provide a clear planning framework for the redevelopment of this Proposal Site and will pursue, as appropriate, a full range of measures to enable delivery of its objective for the site, including Compulsory Purchase powers, preparation of Development Briefs, partnership working with private sector landowners and developers and explore the merits of Simplified Planning Zones.3. The Council will pursue, through the above measures, the determination of planning applications and other initiatives:
- comprehensive redevelopment of this site, or
incremental development within the site, to transform the
area into a sustainable mixed use community, including:
- an acceptable mix of uses focussed on residential and small scale flexible office accommodation complimented by local retail uses, leisure (cafes and bars) and community facilities;
- the provision of a Primary school when required;
- consider the provision of additional Higher and Further Education facilities based on an assessment of the expansion needs of the University of Essex and South Essex College;
- full integration with the surrounding neighbourhood by providing for new footway/cycle links through the area;
- limited strategic locations for tall buildings
- urban greening projects, including:
- the use of green walls and roof gardens;
- comprehensive landscaping;
- the creation of a series of linked public green space within the area linked to a wider network of parks and gardens;
- a comprehensive sustainable drainage system and areas of open water.
4. The Council will use its enforcement powers to reduce the damage to amenities and the environment resulting from long term vacant and derelict land and buildings.5. In the event of incremental redevelopment of individual sites, the Council will require each development site as it comes forward to demonstrate how the scheme will meet, and not prejudice the delivery of, the wider regeneration ambitions for the area, including the provision of measure that integrate the proposed scheme with:
- a remodelled high quality urban form;
- provide a built form where fronts of building all face existing or new public space or streets;
- a series of new footways and cycle routes through the whole area linking to the surrounding neighbourhood;
- an area wide comprehensive sustainable drainage system and areas of open water;
- an area wide solution to parking provision;
- create substantial areas of usable communal private spaces.
524. This area, which is situated on either side of Victoria Avenue, forms a gateway to the Town Centre. It is characterised by high rise and civic buildings and Southend Victoria Railway Station. With the exception of the Court building, Library and Civic offices, the architecture of the remaining buildings is bland and uninspiring, symbolic of speculative office building in the 1960s and 1970s. The former South Essex College Campus buildings are currently empty awaiting either redevelopment or conversion. In addition there are plans to relocate the Library to the Elmer Square Quarter.
525. The predominant land uses are offices to the west of Victoria Avenue and civic uses to the east including a Magistrate’s Court, Council offices, Library and Police Station.
526. During a normal working day there is significant pedestrian movement along Victoria Avenue to the Southend Victoria Railway Station and the Town Centre. The road is also a principal access route for vehicles to the Town Centre, the Seafront and beyond. The volume of vehicular movements along the main roads presents a significant barrier for pedestrians and cyclists moving between the urban Quarters. Significant improvements are have been completed including the redesign of Victoria Gateway (Phase 1) that has created more direct routes to the Town Centre and activity spaces around the station.
527. This significant gateway to the Town Centre is now blighted by outmoded, vacant and in some places derelict office blocks. The biggest challenge for this neighbourhood, and to the Town Centre regeneration in particular, is to bring about the transformation of this area. The size and scale of this gateway location means that the urban form needs to be totally remodelled to uplift the area and provide an outstanding gateway to the Town Centre. In addition, release of the outmoded office floorspace will allow the Council to pursue its broader spatial strategy for the location of business to within the Town Centre.
528. It is intended that Victoria Avenue will become a sustainable mixed use Quarter with enhancements to the formal Boulevard character of the street befitting its gateway status. The Quarter will be transformed with a new mix of uses including offices, residential, civic functions, commercial and local retail and health and fitness facilities.
529. The existing environment will need to be largely remodelled to accommodate a more complex, fine-grained and sustainable urban form that is capable of sufficient commercial and economic robustness to avoid future redundancy, as has been the legacy.
530. Supplementary Planning Guidance will be prepared to provide a clear planning framework for the site. Development Briefs will also be prepared by the Council together with private sector partners to secure the regeneration and redevelopment of this area.
Proposal Site Policy PS9b: Former Essex and Suffolk Water Board Site
The Council will support the provision of housing on this site in association with the promotion of enhanced cultural facilities and creative industries, building on the current use and capitalising on the merits of the existing building.
531. The former Essex and Suffolk Water Boards’ site is currently the temporary home for two cultural enterprises. Studios and gallery spaces are housed within a converted water works called TAP (Temporary Arts project). It is home to Coexist, an organisation committed to showcasing dynamic and exciting artists and the White Bus, dedicated to promoting the creation and viewing of films.
Proposal Site Policy PS9c: Roots Hall Football ground and environs
In the event of Southend United Football Club relocating their stadium, the Council will work with private sector developers and landowners to redevelop this site for the provision of:1. mixed residential uses comprising flat, semi detached and terraced houses with usable quality private open space;
2. retail food store at first floor level and petrol filling station with kiosk;3. business uses together with café/bar and community facilities fronting onto Fairfax Drive;
4. vehicular accesses / egresses onto Fairfax Drive, Roots Hall Avenue and Victoria Avenue;5. modified access to Shakespeare Drive for emergency and pedestrian only access
6. good quality landscaping; and7. provision of retaining walls to southern part of site.
532. Proposal site comprises the existing Southend United Football Stadium at Roots Hall and the surrounding buildings, which have vehicular assesses off Victoria Avenue, Roots Hall Avenue, Fairfax Drive and Shakespeare Drive. The 3.75 hectare land parcel also includes the former Prospects College and shops fronting Fairfax Drive and returning along Victoria Avenue, the South Essex Homes block of social housing know as St. Mary’s Court and the Council controlled open space in front. At the Southern end of the site there is the Southend United Football Club shop/ticket sales building and at the centre there are two vacant industrial buildings fronting Roots Hall Avenue.
533. At present this site is linked, by way of planning conditions and legal agreements, to the site at Fossetts Farm. Redevelopment of the existing stadium is not permitted at this site until the Fossetts Farm scheme is fully functioning as a replacement football stadium. Under the current proposals Fossetts Farm will provide the funding for the redevelopment of Roots Hall. The site also includes two buildings in the northern most point in the Prittlewell conservation area; these building are situated on the site of 299 Victoria Avenue, which make up part of the Southend United Football ticket office.
534. It is expected that development of this site will deliver a high quality mixed use development which comprises a mix of housing types, business and retail uses, within a well landscape setting which provides good quality public and private amenity space for residents and visitors. All development within the site must employ low carbon technologies, energy efficient measures and sustainability principles to reduce the carbon footprint. Issues of access and permeability will need to be addressed to ensure that the site integrates appropriately with the existing transport network and provides a legible environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
10.2.10 Sutton Gateway Neighbourhood
535. Sutton Road is located immediately north of Southend Town Centre. The area is bounded in the east by Sutton Road, Queensway in the south, the railway line in the west and West Road in the north.
536. This Neighbourhood contains a diverse mix of uses including residential, employment areas and retail areas. The main employment areas comprise Grainger Road industrial estate and Short Street employment area. There are also employment uses fronting Sutton Road in the north which have low occupancy levels and are of poor townscape value fronting as they do residential areas on the eastern side of Sutton Road. The southern section of Sutton Road comprises a local shopping centre with a mix of retail uses and services.
537. As part of the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and Employment Land Review (ELR) this Gateway Neighbourhood was appraised in order to determine its potential for housing and economic growth. The key issues facing the area include:
- The area contains a mix of uses which do not gel together in any coherent way. Employment and retail uses relate poorly to residential streets, and often feel alien in scale and appearance. In addition the townscape is in need of repair.
- The age of employment buildings, together with a series of blank and poorly kept frontages creates a run-down feel to the area.
- The ring road creates a physical and psychological barrier and leaves the southern part of the site exposed and open with a poor sense of place.
- There are remnants of quality townscape in both residential and employment areas; new development could complement these and help knit the area. together to create something that feels more like a neighbourhood.
538. The SHLAA and ELR identified that there was scope to reinforce local employment opportunities whilst at the same time develop opportunities for additional housing. The overall concept for the Gateway Neighbourhood is to repair, unify and knit together the townscape to create a neighbourhood that retains a variety in mix of uses, but where these uses relate better to each other, avoiding the sense that buildings or uses are intrusive to their neighbours.
539. Within this area there are 3 proposal Sites. Proposal Site PS10a – Former B&Q Site is the subject to ongoing negotiations with Tesco for the provision of a new supermarket. The principle of this use has been considered appropriate subject to satisfactory highway arrangements and the need to include parking for the store and re-provision of the Focus Youth Centre. Proposal Site PS10b Sutton Road has been tested through the SHLAA and ELR and is considered suitable for redevelopment for additional housing alongside an appropriate level of supporting uses such as small employment units and some retail and community uses. Proposal Site PS10c Coleman Street Site includes 3 residential tower blocks and lower rise social housing. The Council has expressed a desire to regenerate and enhance this area whilst ensuring provision of social housing.
540. Objectives for Sutton Neighbourhood Gateway
- Create an integrated, high quality residential community where people of all ages want to live.
- Provide additional housing which demonstrates best practices regarding sustainable design, construction and living.
- Provide employment opportunities including the protection and regeneration of existing industrial and employment areas.
- A thriving local shopping centre on Sutton Road.
- repair the townscape along Sutton Road and Queensway to provide better relationships with the adjacent residential areas and town centre respectively.
The Council, with private sector partners, the determination of planning applications and other initiatives will: Policy DP10: Sutton Gateway Neighbourhood Development Principles
1. facilitate the provision of a major supermarket and associated car parking and re-provision of youth facilities on land within Proposal Site PS10a former B&Q Site;2. support the redevelopment for housing led mixed use development on Proposal Site PS10b Sutton Road;
3. explore the regeneration of this site for the provision of additional social housingon Proposal Site10c Coleman’s Street;4. support regeneration of the following employment growth areas to provide increased employment floorspace:
- Grainger Road
- Short Street
5. consider the provision of additional Higher and Further Education facilities based on an assessment of the expansion needs of the University of Essex and South Essex College when and where appropriate development opportunities arise;6. promote the following access and public realm improvements:
- appropriate enhancements to Sutton Road to uplift the residential environment and enhance provisions for walking and cycling;
- an enhanced cycling and pedestrian route along the length of Short Street from West Road to Queensway;
- new public open space within Proposal Site PS10b (Sutton Road).
Development proposals within the Secondary Shopping Frontages on Sutton Road must have regard to the requirements of Core Strategy Policy CP2 Town Centre and Retail Development and Development Management DPD Policy DM14 Shopping Frontage Management.
541. Sutton Road is located to the north west of the Town Centre and comprises a diverse mixture of residential, employment and retail areas between Sutton Road in the east and Southend Victoria Railway Station in the west. Sutton Road industrial area is identified in the Core Strategy as one of the Priority Urban Areas to be the focus for regeneration and renewal.
542. The SHLAA site appraisal identifies an existing mix of uses which do not gel together in any coherent way. Employment and retail uses relate poorly to residential streets and the townscape is in need of repair. There are remnants of quality townscape in both residential and employment areas which could be complemented by new development.
543. This Plan seeks to take forward a concept for the area that maintains and reinforces the existing employment and shopping opportunities and in design terms repairs, unifies and knits together the townscape to create a better neighbourhood that retains a variety of uses but where these uses relate better to each other.
544. This includes protecting the maintaining and promoting as locations for increased employment floorspace Grainger Road and Short Street employment Growth Areas through a managed approach using Planning Briefs that will set out the quantum of development and appropriate uses.
545. In line with Development Management Policy DM13 the local shopping centre on Sutton Road will be supported as a local centre to meet the day to day needs of the local community.
546. Along the north west side of Sutton Road there are a number of older employment uses that present an opportunity to repair the townscape and re-instate residential use so that the area relates better to the buildings opposite. It is within this area that opportunities will be pursued to introduce public space which is lacking in this neighbourhood. There are also opportunities to improve the provision of affordable housing and encourage neighbourhood renewal whilst helping to address issues of anti-social behaviour in an area in the south currently occupied by three residential tower blocks and a terrace of two storey housing.
547. Clearly access to and within this neighbourhood and to the Town Centre is important and there are opportunities to improve the environment of Short Street along its length including the foot way continuation up to West Road on the back of proposed development opportunities on Proposal Site PS10 (former B&Q Site) and the completed residential development to the north. Sutton Road is also a major multi-modal route and environmental improvements here would also support the local shopping centre.
Proposal Site Policy PS10a – Former B&Q Site
1. The Council will work with the private sector land and property owners to redevelop this site for a new large format foodstore, related car parking and the re-provision of existing youth facilities.2. The Council will require:
- an assessment of the impact of the proposal on the Town Centre’s vitality and viability, including impacts of the scale, range and quality of the comparison and convenience offer;
- transport and access arrangements to have regard to the highway, public transport and pedestrian and cycle provisions of the Victoria Gateway scheme in addition to the highway requirements of the scheme itself;
- building design to be architecturally led and demonstrate how the development will integrate with the surrounding area, including how an active frontage at ground floor level can be achieved;
- environmental improvements to Short Street for walking and cycling.
548. Edge of centre sites contribute to meeting retail need. Proposal Site PS10a (Former B&Q Site) offers a good opportunity for large format convenience retail development in the short term given its current availability, particularly if the Sainsbury’s store, London Road, was to relocate. Severance caused by Queensway Road between the site and The Victoria would need to be considered carefully to ensure that development here is integrated as best as possible with the Town Centre’s Primary Shopping Area and neighbouring area.
Proposal Site Policy PS10b – Sutton Road
1. The Council will support the redevelopment of this area for high quality housing with supporting uses at ground floor such as café bar/community facilities.2. The Council will require the building design, form and massing to:
- have regard to residential buildings on the opposite side of Sutton Road and contribute positively to repairing the street scene in this area;
- Provide for a new area of public open space.
549. The Council, as part of the preparation for this plan looked at the potential for change across a series of sites within the Sites in the Sutton Neighbourhood Gateway improving the appearance of the area generally, and taking into account the need to improve the way that existing and new residential and commercial development may relate to each other. This Site is currently in employment use fronting Sutton Road and coming to the end of their natural life. Immediately to the south there have been a number of redevelopments which are transforming the area to a more residential use. It found that in the area within this Proposal Site there was a juxtaposition of residential and older employment sites creating a slightly run down feel and a need for coherence in the street form and character.
1. The Council will, with public and private sector partners,explore the regeneration of this site for the provision of additional social housingviaan options appraisalthat will give the Council and its residents a vision of how to provide high quality, environmentally sustainable affordable housing whilst helping to address issues of anti-social behaviour and encouraging neighbourhood renewal. Proposal Site Policy PS10c: Coleman Street
2. This Proposal Site is susceptible to surface water flooding and all proposals for development should accord with Core Policy KP1 and KP2 and have regard to the SFRA, the Local Flood Risk Partnership’s Surface Water Management Plan and the Borough Council’s emerging Local Flood Risk Management Strategy when approved3. The Council will prepare a Development Brief to take forward development of this site.
550. Southend has poorer quality housing which present a greater challenge to enabling sustainable communities. The opportunity exists on this site to invest and build on neighbourhood regeneration, where achieving decent homes standard for council accommodation remains a priority together with improving the housing offer for the residents. This approach has been taken forward as a priority in the Council’s Local Investment Plan.