SOUTHEND Council is considering sinking £10million into a new airport business park which could create thousands of jobs.
The council’s cabinet is to consider making the investment next week, as part of its plans for the period 2015-2018.
The site for the new business park is on Southend Council owned land to the north of Aviation Way, which lies just inside the Rochford district.
Papers released this week (see PDF at the end of this article) ahead of the cabinet meeting show plans for a medical technology centre at the heart of the site, which on its own, could create 4,000 jobs.
The documents say the council would like to borrow £10million to invest in groundworks on the site, starting in 2015- 2018.
It is also looking at allowing a solar energy farm on land to the north of the business park as a way of recouping some of its costs.
Andrew Moring, Tory councillor responsible for corporate services, said: “We own quite a lot of land there and some of it is green belt so we thought, ‘what can we do with that?’ “We could possibly make it a solar farm, although we haven’t gone through the details of it yet.”
He added: “The £10million will be for the initial infrastructure – utilities and roads – although this is provisional, as it would still have to be approved in the annual budgets each year.”
The plan would also hinge on Rochford Council giving planning permission, and on a separate agreement between the two councils to be known as a joint area action plan.
Mr Moring added: “This would be very good news for the town, in particular for the jobs it would provide for people.”
Martin Terry, opposition independent group spokesman, said his colleagues supported the project in principle, but had “major concerns about the level of borrowing” involved.
He added: “Eventually, it would have to be paid for from cuts to frontline services. I think it should look at the level of its reserves and how its investments are managed first.”
Click the link below to download a PDF of the full report.