The Inspector approved the proposals after examining a list of modifications put forward by the two authorities in response to feedback from stakeholders.
The plan includes policies for developing the airport and new business space, together with environmental enhancements, transport improvements and regeneration proposals.
Now that the inspector has given the go-ahead to the plan – known formally as the London Southend Airport and Environs Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP) – both Councils can now put the plan forward for formal adoption.
Earlier this month, Southend Council announced it had selected Henry Boot Developments as its preferred joint development partner. The authorities are now working with Henry Boot to devise a masterplan for the area, with the intention of submitting an outline planning application in the spring. If all goes well, work could start on the construction in 2016.
Cllr Ron Woodley, leader of Southend Council, said: “Our proposals with Rochford are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost the economies of Southend and Rochford by attracting investment and creating much needed jobs. We are pleased that the Inspector has given this approval which will allow us to press ahead with our plans.
“This is a golden opportunity for Southend-on-Sea and we will also be working to ensure that our policies reflect the skills required and give our young people every opportunity to fill these new jobs that will be created.”
Councillor Keith Hudson, Deputy Leader of Rochford District Council and joint Chairman of the JAAP committee, said: “It’s taken many years to get to this point and it is good news that the Government Inspector has found our plans to be sound as, subject to formal adoption by both councils, we can now begin to get the wheels in motion.
“These proposals seek to create at least 7,000 jobs for the local economy and have already been instrumental in securing funding for improvements to the A127 through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP). It is hoped that we can now move forward quickly and see the economic growth that is much needed and will benefit our society.”
8 December – JAAP committee meeting to discuss the way forward
9 December – Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Cabinet to consider agreeing to adopt plan
11 December – Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Place Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise plan
11 December – Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Full Council to consider formal adoption of plan
16 December - Rochford District Council Full Council meeting to consider formal adoption of plan
Spring 2015 – Subject to the necessary adoption, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, as developer, to submit an outline planning application to Rochford District Council
2016 – proposed start on site