Overhaul of Housing Estate in Southend-on-Sea Proposed

Along with 12, two-story flats, the four towers are set to be demolished.
Along with 12, two-story flats, the four towers are set to be demolished.
25 March 2020, Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom

For 53 years, the four tower blocks of the Queensway Estate have been a dominant feature of the Southend-on-Sea skyline.

Between them, the 16-story buildings, named Quantock, Pennine, Malvern, and Chiltern, have more than 400 homes.

But, as time has gone on, the estate has gotten a reputation for being a crime-heavy area, with high-profile attacks making national news.

Now, the Southend Borough Council is seeking planning permission for a project that they think will not only fix the look of the estate, but also the crime problems.

Along with 12, two-story flats, the four towers are set to be demolished and huge change could be on the horizon.

The "Better Queensway" project looks to flatten the high rises, build 1,700 homes, and install a “security concierge” over the span of four years.

It will require re-housing of all affected residents currently living there, with the promise of somewhere to live in the new estate once work is complete.

If everything is approved, it is set to be one of the most transformative projects in Southend's history.

The scheme was originally thought up in 2014 after the 1960s-era tower blocks became such an eyesore and hub for crime that change had to be considered.

Over the past five years, plans have been coordinated to demolish the four tower blocks as well as a row of two-floor flats and build up to 1,700 homes in their place, including new homes for secure tenants currently living on the estate. Six hundred of these homes currently qualify as “affordable housing.”

That's more than the 1,200 that are currently on the estate.

A temporary car park along Essex Street next to the Quantock tower is also set to be built upon.

The existing four tower blocks, as well as a community center and 24 flats, will be demolished.

Current residents will be rehoused by Southend Council and offered an opportunity to move back into the new estate once it has been rebuilt.

This redevelopment will cost Porters Place Southend-on-Sea LLP, a joint venture between Southend Borough Council and Swan Housing, approximately £500 million (US$585 million).

A “central community concierge” will be built, providing security for the new residents.

There will be a flexible space for a range of commercial and business space.

The Queensway road will be redesigned, with the underpass being removed and new trees and greenery put in place along the route.

Connections to Southend High Street and the Southend Victoria train station will also be improved.

The Range store, currently next to the Southend Victoria train station, would also be demolished, with new apartments built there too.

The estate's transformation will be headed by Porters Place Southend-on-Sea LLP, a joint venture between Swan Housing and Southend Borough Council.

From 2014 to 2015, the Southend Borough Council began consulting with residents on how the Queensway estate should be regenerated. The decision was taken to demolish the towers, transform the road and offer residents the same terms and conditions after the redevelopment takes place as before.

In April 2019 a 30-year joint venture partnership was signed between Swan and Southend Borough Council and in February 2020, the first designs of the estate were released.

For more on this story, go to the Essex Chronicle.

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