Southend Central Area Action Plan
9. Delivery and Monitoring
Issues & Options for an Implementation Plan for Delivery
9.1 It is intended that the final version of the AAP will include detailed information about deliverability and the arrangements for monitoring the success of the plan. The main delivery body will be Renaissance Southend Limited which was incorporated as a private limited company in March 2005. Its objectives are to assist, promote, encourage, develop and secure the regeneration in the social, physical and economic environment of Southend-on-Sea. The company is managed by a private and public sector Board of Director who’s Founder Members are Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, East of England Development Agency, English Partnerships [now part of the Homes and Communities Agency], University of Essex and South Essex College, supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government, Government Office for the East of England,, the Housing Corporation [which is also now part of the Homes and Communities Agency] and the Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership.
9.2 The Core Strategy DPD sets a challenging target for Central Southend in helping to meet the Borough’s ambition for economic growth and meeting housing needs. Evidence suggests that performance over the last ten years in the delivery of new homes and commercial floorspace within Central Southend has been poor. This is a reflection of the way in which values for both housing and commercial space, especially offices, are impacted by the low value of existing stock, thus deterring further developer investment.
9.3 Efforts to improve the attractiveness of Central Southend are being made through substantial investment of some £25m in public realm and infrastructure. There is some evidence that this, together with £100m investment in Higher and Further Education provision in the town centre, is starting to have an impact with the recent refurbishment of the Palace Hotel, investment by retailers; Marks & Spencer, Hennes and Next, and the refurbishment of the Victoria Shopping Centre. Further work to review the demand and capacity for additional retail space in Central Southend over the next 5-10 years is currently underway which will to inform the detailed proposals in the subsequent submission version of this Plan. At present there is little evidence of developer confidence in either the office market or higher density town centre private housing.
9.4 Land availability in the town centre is heavily constrained, but some major development sites will need to be identified to deliver the quantum of floorspace and homes needed to meet the Core Strategy ambitions. It will also be necessary for this Plan to do more than simply allocate land uses to particular sites. History suggests that values will not be sufficient for the market to be able to drive significant land acquisition costs, with the high level of risk and uncertainty this involves.
9.5 There are three potential options for delivery in the town centre, given the public sector is a significant land owner, and these can be applied both to the overall strategy and individual sites. Ultimately there could be a combination of delivery options used:
- Market forces dictate delivery in terms of future
- involves maximum risk for private sector, low risk for public sector overall high risk that market led development will not deliver wider regeneration benefits and ‘cherry picking’ may be counter productive for longer term sustainability of Central Southend
- Public/Sector Partnership through Development Agreements,
Joint Venture Partnerships or Local Asset Backed Vehicles
- the Council and private sector partner(s) share risk in short term and share in any longer term benefits
- increases potential for delivery and achievement of wider regeneration benefits
- Public Sector led, with the local authority as principal
land owner taking lead to ‘derisk’ individual sites and
procure developments on a site by site basis.
- involves maximise risk to public sector
- may secure re-development but may lose opportunity for wider or longer term benefits
9.6 Notwithstanding the mechanisms to be employed to secure development it will be essential for the Plan to give clear guidance on the key principles for any redevelopment proposals, namely:
- Town Centre Parking Strategy
Replacement of existing car parking on a like for like basis, in new MSCPs will need to be tested and validated and its impact on costs considered as part of the overall viability appraisals
- Affordable Housing
Are the Core Strategy Policies for the provision of affordable housing wholly achievable on the key town centre sites. What are the implications and possible alternatives for meeting the identified need for additional affordable housing in other parts of the central area.
- Education Contributions, public realm and other s106
How will the Council’s expectations be met on schemes where viability is affected by wider regeneration requirements to include commercial or mixed uses
9.7 Where there remains a gap on viability for schemes that are deemed significant in achieving the overall economic growth identified in the Core Strategy it will be important to ensure that this Plan relates closely to the emerging Local Investment Plan to be prepared jointly with the Homes & Communities Agency, the Government’s delivery agency for housing and regeneration in the Thames Gateway.
9.8 For the purposes of the Implementation Plan the key sites identified in the CAM, which will require detailed consideration, will be:
- St John’s Heygate – including Tylers and Seaway Car Parks, the seafront east of Pier Hill, including Marine Plaza site (former Dizzyland) and Esplanade House
- Warrior Square – Land between Warrior Square Garden and Whitegate Road
- Queensway House & Southchurch Road
- Victoria Avenue East – Civic Quarter
- Victoria Avenue West – Existing Office Quarter
- London Road North – Sainsbury (subject to move to Roots Hall)
- Clifftown – Alexandra St and Clarence Road Car Parks
9.9 Demonstrating that these sites can be brought forward for a combination of mixed commercial and residential uses in accordance with an orderly phasing plan that avoids over supply at any one time will be critical to the Plan assisting the delivery of the Core Strategy DPD.
9.10 It is expected that the Annual Monitoring Report will be the main vehicle for monitoring the success of the plan, but we would also welcome views on other options for recording and reporting on implementation.