The proposals - known formally as the London Southend Airport and Environs Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP) - were adopted by Southend councillors at a meeting of the full Council last Thursday, and then by Rochford District Council’s full council meeting yesterday (Tuesday 16 December 2014).
The plans envisage 7,000 jobs being created over 10-15 years through the construction of over 100,000 sqm of new employment space.
Last month, Southend Council announced it had selected Henry Boot Developments Ltd as its preferred development partner. Southend Council is now working with Henry Boot to refine a masterplan for the area, with the intention of submitting an outline planning application to Rochford District Council, as the planning authority, in the spring. Subject to the necessary approvals, construction work could start in 2016.
Key features of the proposals include:
- A site for the Anglia Ruskin Medtech campus which will deliver space and support for businesses in the medical technologies sector
- An innovation centre providing flexible commercial accommodation for entrepreneurs and small businesses
- Up to 109,000 sqm of new employment space, including good-quality new office space
- A further 15,000 sqm of employment space to be made available for redevelopment on the existing Aviation Way Industrial Estate
- New opportunities for aviation-related maintenance and overhaul businesses to develop on the extension of the northern Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul area of the Airport
- New attractive public open spaces and landscaping and investment in sporting facilities
- Transport improvements within the JAAP area and on the local and wider networks, including new routes and junction improvements
- A junction on Cherry Orchard Way to open up land for development.
Cllr Ron Woodley, Leader of Southend Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Southend and Rochford which could see upward of £100m of private sector investment in the area over the next 10 to 15 years.
“This new business space, next to an international airport and with excellent access to the mainline rail line into London, will help us to attract further investment and create much needed jobs for the area.
“It is part of an unfolding story of regeneration across Southend. We’re seeing a huge amount of investment along the seafront and Seaways car park, we’re working hard to bring about the redevelopment of disused office blocks along Victoria Avenue and we’re investing in nurturing new and growing businesses through grants and business support.
“I’m delighted that both Councils have adopted this plan and now look forward to realising the massive economic potential of the area.”
Councillor Keith Hudson, Deputy Leader of Rochford District Council and joint Chairman of the JAAP committee, said: “This process has taken seven years to complete and involved a great deal of hard work from both Rochford District Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Councils, but this is where the real work starts.
“Now we need to press ahead with implementation, as this means 7,000 jobs for our residents - 7,000 jobs that will put bread on the tables of our families.
“It will also save a lot of out-commuting and this, combined with the associated improvements to the A127, will take the pressure off our roads.
“I truly believe it’s the greatest thing to happen to our District in a long time.”