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Better Queensway, Southend-on-Sea - Porters Place LLP

Who is the developer/client of the project?

 

Porters Place LLP – a joint venture between Swan Housing Association and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

 

Describe the context of this project and its contribution to the urban life and user experience of the place in 250 words max. and please upload an image of the project in its wider context or a drawing that best situates the project in its location.

 

The Queensway estate is a tired estate, which currently includes 441 homes across four, 13-storey tower blocks in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Three tower blocks are to the north of a seven-lane highway, which includes a busy road and dark pedestrian underpass. The fourth tower block on the south side of the road is close to the High Street and the Victoria Centre shopping mall.

 

Built in the late 1960’s, the housing and road network around the Queensway estate needs sizable investment of several million pounds, to bring it back up to standard, foster its existing community and to welcome new visitors to the area.

 

In 2014, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council began consulting with residents on the concept of regenerating the existing estate and decided to look to demolish and transform four no longer ‘fit-for-purpose’ town centre tower blocks, into an outstanding new, mixed use development.

 

With £500+million investment, this complex regeneration project will be delivered by a joint venture partnership between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council (SBC) and Swan Housing Association (Swan). Once complete, the scheme will provide up to 1,760 much needed new homes, of which at least 512 will be genuinely affordable, up to 10,000 square metres of commercial space, a new community concierge, vast amount of public realm and green space. Plus, improved connectivity to the town centre through a safer highway design.

 

BQ ticks all five of the wider ambitions for the borough, known as ‘Southend 2050’. The most important being that everyone has a home to meet their needs.

 

Please describe your approach to this future place and its mix of uses. How will it function as a vibrant place? How does it knit into, and serve the needs of, the wider area? 250 words max. Please attach a detailed masterplan that shows the mix of uses and public spaces.

 

The re-development plans will invest over £500 million into the Queensway area, benefit the whole of Southend-on-Sea through the creation of local jobs and training opportunities, as well as encouraging enterprise and creativity, investing in the community for the future.

 

While helping to meet the needs of affordable housing in Southend-on-Sea, Better Queensway will not only provide a place to live but somewhere to work, connect and play with up to 10,000 sqm of flexible commercial space, including resident amenity space, children’s play areas and urban parks and plazas.

 

Complementing what is already on offer in the neighbouring High Street, there will be an opportunity to support creative industries in the local area such as galleries and arts organisations via the provision of artists’ studios and spaces for local entrepreneurs to grow their business. The scheme will actively link up with local employers to help upskill the local community and provide access to jobs and employment. A café, selective retail space, convenience store and nursery will also support the residents of the new estate, complementing the existing shops, businesses and services in the town.

 

How will the carbon use/material impact of the development of this new place be mitigated? What is the sustainability strategy? 250 words max. Please attach an image or drawing of the project that supports your statement.

 

BQ’s grant funding from the Government’s ‘Get Building Fund’ will contribute to significant long-term investment in the environmental and sustainable aspects of the project. The Better Queensway redevelopment will deliver:

• Upgrades to the local electricity networks to meet new government guidelines on energy use in new homes and electric vehicle charging -helping to deliver improvements for the provision of electric vehicle charging in the local area.

• Heat pumps, an efficient alternative energy source and heating system that will reduce the overall carbon footprint of the regenerated estate.

• A sustainable urban drainage system helping to alleviate the flood risk to Southend-on-Sea seafront, supporting local businesses and tourism. This will include rain gardens and green public spaces.

• A boost to the local cycling and pedestrian network - 1,400 metres of new cycle paths along Queensway and Southchurch Road and secure cycle parking for residents.

• Private outdoor space whether it be a balcony, terrace or garden, for every home.

• New green spaces including an urban park and 190 new trees (2 for 1 on tree replacement) will be created.

 

 

What do you see as the greatest contribution of this project to the citizens of this future place and its surrounding areas? You may also attach an additional image or document to support your entry.

 

The Better Queensway Steering Group was set up to allow residents to feed into the future designs/ plans for the site. Through this and public consultation, residents have told us how the current community is divided. There is a high crime rate, ASB issues and drug use on the estate and most do not feel safe using the pedestrian highway underpass. They want better housing provision, with green outdoor space, improved safety and security and greater connectivity throughout the estate.

Having listened to local residents, the plans provide an attractive gateway for anyone arriving at Southend Victoria railway station, with a tree-lined avenue which runs through the heart of the development for a safer route throughout and increased accessibility to Victoria shopping centre.

The underpass on Queensway Road will be replaced with the latest in sustainable highways design, retaining four lanes for traffic while removing the associated roundabout and adding safer pedestrian crossings at street level.

There will be children’s play areas and additional ’pocket parks’ for all and up to 1,760 new homes with at least 512 genuinely affordable homes via a mix of 300 social rented homes and 212 intermediate homes (shared equity and shared ownership). The LLP are also intending to deliver an additional 100 genuinely affordable homes through a separate contractual agreement.

The estate will be managed from a new central concierge with CCTV, ground maintenance and concierge staff on hand, eliminating residents’ current issues with the estate not being a safe place to live.

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