Southend Central Area Action Plan

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1. Introduction

Background to this document

1.1 In accordance with Southend Borough Council’s adopted Local Development Scheme and the Strategic Objectives and the policies within its Core Strategy Development Plan Document [DPD], the Borough Council is preparing an Area Action Plan [AAP] for the central area of the town (to be known as Southend Central AAP) and associated Proposals Map.

1.2 This Issues and Options Document is a statutory stage in the preparation of the Southend Central AAP and has been prepared for consultation with stakeholders. It is a spatial plan that will eventually form part of the statutory Local Development Framework for the Borough.

1.3 It builds on the foundations laid by the Pre-Submission Consultation Issues and Options Report published in January 2007. Since this date the Regulations governing the preparation of development plans has changed. In addition, following a lengthy consultation process, the Central Area Masterplan [CAM], prepared by Renaissance Southend Limited (RSL), has also been prepared.

1.4 The Central Area Masterplan was commissioned by RSL in June 2006, and its development progressed through the following stages:

Stage 1: Baseline Report:
Project appreciation, baseline research and analysis and identification of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
Stage 2: Options Identification Report:
Identification and evaluation of physical development options.
Stage 3: Draft Final Report:
Identification of preferred options
Stage 4: Final Report:
Publication of Central Area Masterplan

1.5 In November 2007 the Council endorsed the principles of the Central Area Masterplan draft Development Framework. A year later in November 2008 the Council agreed to adopt the Central Area Masterplan prepared by RSL as a design brief and interim guidance.

1.6 This consultation plan is derived from, and takes forward, the guiding principles from the Central Area Masterplan.

The Area Action Plan Boundary

1.7 The Pre-Submission Consultation Issues and Options Report published in January 2007 sought views on four alternative options for a boundary for the Plan. As a result of the responses received, subsequent development pressures and other changes, a new boundary is proposed which is shown on the plan below.

[Insert Plan] to follow

The Consultation Process

1.8 The stages in the timetable for production of this Area Action Plan for the central area are as follows:

Pre-Submission consultation January 2007
Issues and Options consultation [regulation 25] June/July 2010
Publication/Consultation [regulation 27] December 2010/January 2011
Submission to the Secretary of State [regulation 30] June 2011
Target date for Examination October 2011
Proposed date for Adoption February 2012

1.9 This plan represents the issues and options stage in plan preparation under the new regulations. It is a targeted consultation with key stakeholders. However, the Plan is also available to download from the Borough Council website and all public libraries within the Borough. It is also available in alternative formats (see inset page).

1.10 After the consultation period has ended, the Council will assess all comments received before preparing the submission version which will then be subject to wider public consultation.

1.11 The Council will also take into account the findings of studies, surveys and research carried out on its behalf, or on the behalf of Renaissance Southend Limited, as well as any additional evidence provided by other stakeholders. In particular the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment [SHLAA] including the ‘call for site’s undertaken as part of this study, Employment Land Review [ELR] and Retail Study will inform the submission version of this Plan.

What is an Area Action Plan?

1.12 An Area Action Plan is a development plan document that forms part of the Local Development Framework for the Borough. Such Plans are used when there is a need to provide the planning framework for areas where significant change or conservation is needed. Area Action Plans should:

  • deliver planned growth areas;
  • stimulate regeneration;
  • protect areas particularly sensitive to change;
  • resolve conflicting objectives in areas subject to development pressures; or
  • focus the delivery of area based regeneration initiatives.

1.13 Area Action Plans can assist in producing a consensus as to the right strategy for an area and how it might be implemented. They can act as a focus and a catalyst for getting several key agencies and landowners to work together.

Why is an Area Action Plan required for Central Southend?

1.14 The Core Strategy DPD spatial strategy makes provision for a large share of the Borough’s new growth and regeneration to be focussed in the central area of the borough. The purpose of this Plan, therefore, is to give more detailed consideration to how and where employment-led regeneration and growth can sustainably be accommodated in the town centre, central seafront area and surrounding neighbourhoods. At the submission stage the Plan will contain detailed policies and site specific proposals aimed at strengthening and transforming Southend Town Centre’s sub-regional role as a successful retail and commercial destination, cultural hub and education centre of excellence, leisure and tourist attraction, and place to live. The intention is to also seek to safeguard, conserve and enhance the significant biodiversity, green space and other environmental resources in the area and on the foreshore.

1.15 The UK economy entered a period of recession in 2008/2009 and experienced the biggest quarter-on-quarter economic decline since 1980. The economic recovery process has begun, but at a slow rate and the economy remains fragile. Coupled with a weak economy, the Government has to tackle a Government spending deficit that has exceeded an unprecedented £156 billion. The Treasury will also undertake a Spending Review, reporting in the autumn following consultation with all tiers of Government and the private sector. This current fragile economic situation is having a direct impact upon public and private investment decisions, which in turn is likely to affect the delivery of new houses, employment opportunities and infrastructure schemes, in the borough.

The Borough Council, however, is committed to providing a flexible and effective Planning Framework to guide development decisions in a way that best meets the needs and aspiration of local people and the business community. This means planning for the longer term now to provide certainty for the development industry ready for when the economy recovers.

The situation will be monitored closely and taken into account, along with comments made on this Issues and Options Report, during the next stage of Plan preparation. 

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