A number of recommendations were also agreed including:
- The inclusion of Network Rail land at Victoria Station within the outline masterplan
- The proposed preferred offer to leaseholders living in the area
- To undertake further works to determine the future of the tower blocks. Initial indications suggest that whilst the buildings have weathered well, they would require £30m of investment and maintenance to last another 30 years. Costs are being sought for the investment required to give them a 75 year lifespan
- Progress investigation work to ‘cover’ the underpass and remodel the roads, including the possible widening of Chichester Road
- Progress with further investigation work on three financial options, including procurement routes
- Identify social infrastructure requirements as part of the whole development
- Setting up a £500,000 fund from the housing revenue account to allow the council to negotiate any properties which become available if this offers value for money and proves to be advantageous to the project
- An undertaking to minimise any disruption to residents and wherever possible move them only once.
The report follows an announcement last week that stated the project could include a new commercial/mixed use station re-development directly connecting Southend Victoria railway station to the Victoria shopping centre and town centre and a new community of approximately 1,000 homes, including 441 affordable (an increase of 22%).
Around 1,000 new homes will be needed across the whole regeneration site to make the project financially viable and ensure that all residents who wish to remain in either refurbished or new homes can do so.
Cllr David Norman, Executive Councillor for Housing, Planning and Regulatory Services, says: “This cabinet report follows on from presentations made to councillors and residents last week and signals the start of the next key stage of the project.
“A lot of background work and research has now been done, and we are now stepping up our work to involve local residents, traders and the wider community as we develop proposals. The report also signals our commitment to minimise disruption to residents and confirms our preferred option for how we deal with leaseholders.
“Social infrastructure details are also being considered and we will look at the impact of the development on health, education provision and highways in the next phase of the project.
“I made a personal commitment to the local residents that we would engage with them and keep them informed and we will continue to do that. Whilst we will not be able to keep everyone happy, and there will inevitably be disruption, inconvenience and tough times ahead, we will create a better Queensway and transform this area for the good of the local community.”