London Southend Airport & Environs Joint Area Access Plan (JAAP)

2. Vision and Objectives

2.1 Vision

The JAAP Vision is set within the context of the regeneration and growth of Southend and Rochford as part of the Essex Thames Gateway South Essex. The shared vision for the future development of London Southend Airport and its environs is:

'An area that realises its potential as a driver for the sub-regional economy, providing significant employment opportunities and ensuring a good quality of life for its residents and workers. To achieve this, the area's assets and opportunities for employment need to be supported and developed'

The Vision acknowledges that London Southend Airport is already a major employment location, for both aviation related businesses and general businesses. This is in spite of the Airport having significant spare capacity for flights and the potential for new industrial and business premises to be developed in the surrounding area.

Development of the Airport and wider JAAP area will provide employment growth and regeneration contributing to the delivery of both authorities' job requirements. The vision is supported in the current and emerging policy frameworks for the area.

The Southend-on-Sea Core Strategy has as its aim:

'To secure a major refocus of function and the long term sustainability of Southend as a significant urban area which serves local people in the Thames Gateway. To do this there is a need to release the potential of Southend's land and buildings to achieve measurable improvements in the town's economic prosperity, transportation networks, infrastructure and facilities; and the quality of life for all its citizens'.

The Regeneration Framework (2007-2021) has as its vision:

'Southend-on-Sea – the regional centre, hub for higher education and culture, a centre for international air services in South Essex – a great place to live, do business and visit!'

The Rochford Core Strategy vision is to 'make Rochford the place of choice in the county to live, work and visit'. Supporting this, the vision sees a flourishing new employment area underpinned by the growth on London Southend Airport that attracts high technology businesses and high value employment to the area.

The Thames Gateway Economic Development Investment Plan (September 2008) points out that:

'London Southend Airport occupies an important and growing niche in aircraft repair and servicing as well as private business flights with flight paths over the estuary – and with only a fraction of the residential noise impacts of other airports.'[1]

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) was created in 2010 and recognises the importance of securing growth in the Thames Gateway area. Objective 1 for the partnership is:

"This is the largest single regeneration area in Europe and the strategic focus of our wider LEP area. With DP World's new container facility and the Port of Tilbury in Thurrock, Ebbsfleet's fast rail services to Europe, and Southend Airport, the Thames Gateway alone provides four key drivers of economic growth for our LEP area. As a national priority, the growth planned in the Thames Gateway provides significant opportunities for new businesses in new sectors and new employment opportunities".

2.2 Objectives of the JAAP

The following objectives have been developed within the planning context and are in conformity with current national, and existing and emerging local policy. They are the guiding principles underpinning the policies and proposals in the JAAP.

The objectives are:

Creation of sustainable, high quality and high value employment and other land uses within the JAAP area;

  • Maximising the economic benefits of a thriving airport and related activity;
  • Ensuring good connectivity to the development area by all modes of transport, with appropriate improvements to sustainable transport and the highway network;
  • Ensuring a high quality public realm and environment for residents and workers;
  • Seeking maximum return on public investment through attracting inward investment; and
  • Developing efficient use and upgrading of existing employment land resources.

2.3 What will the JAAP area look like in the future?

The vision for the JAAP focuses on sustainable economic growth and the delivery of new jobs. However, it is important to understand how that vision for growth will change the area. In effect, with a successful delivery of the plan's policies and proposals, how will the airport and environs look in 10 to 15 years?

It is envisaged that London Southend Airport will be a successful regional passenger airport, operating with an extended runway, and transporting up to 2 million passengers per annum. The runway extension is a key factor in the ability of the airport to accommodate the latest advances in medium sized passenger aeroplanes (100 to 150 seats), which are quieter and more fuel efficient than their predecessors, and can take-off in shorter distances and depart more quickly from local airspace. Passengers will travel to destinations in Europe and beyond (including transfers to long haul destinations) from a modern terminal building linked to a mainline railway station and with good road access to the A127.

In addition to a thriving passenger business, the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities at the airport will have been developed, with new facilities constructed in the Northern MRO extension. The Airport will continue to carry some high value cargo with good connectivity to other hubs such as DP World port in Thurrock, but there will be significant restrictions on night flights, together with a comprehensive range of other environmental controls that will maintain the quality of life for residents.

The award winning exemplar Saxon Business Park will provide modern, sustainable, spacious, and well designed office accommodation and be enhanced by a green lung linking to Rochford town centre in the east and the Cherry Orchard Country Park in the west. With space for a range of high-tech businesses, and new start-up businesses, the business park will provide quality jobs for local people, with employment opportunities in higher paid jobs, and support for economic activities that have the capacity to generate employment growth.

Of particular note within the business park is the Anglia Ruskin Medtech Campus which was created to drive the growth of the medical technology business sector and to transform the innovation process, gaining health system-wide adoption of the latest advances in technology and patient care.

The venture is a partnership between Anglia Ruskin University (with its Postgraduate Medical Institute (PMI) providing a network of hospital and mental health trust partners), Chelmsford City Council, Harlow District Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council – the founding Partners – supported by a number of other key stakeholders in industry, local and central government and the NHS. The physical campus will be spread across these three locations while a virtual business network service will be available regardless of location.

In order to facilitate the construction of the runway extension, a new route has been provided to link Eastwoodbury Lane with Nestuda Way. The new link road improves access to the Airport from Nestuda Way and other road improvements will have enhanced the capacity of the wider network.

The JAAP area will be accessible by public transport (both bus and rail) and networks of walking and cycle routes linking to the wider network. Where feasible it may be possible to enhance the existing networks further to include bridleways.

The area will also see major improvement to the natural environment. New areas of public open space will compliment the upgrading of existing landscape to provide a high quality green environment for resident, visitors and workers. A significant improvement will be the delivery of a new access to Cherry Orchard Jubilee County Park on the west side of Cherry Orchard Way.

[1] Thames Gateway Economic development Investment Plan, EEDA, LDA and SEEDA, 2008

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