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Echo Article – Expansion of Southend – Threat of Rochford/Southend By Pass looms

September 17, 2006 by  

2,000 new homes for New Ranges
Exclusive By Steven Blaakman

Up to 2,000 new homes could be built at the New Ranges weapons testing base in Shoebury.

Consultants are proposing a vibrant new town with a tree-lined main avenue, a central park and the possibility of a landmark tower block.

Investment from big companies and the University of Essex could also create more than 3,000 new jobs, consultants Llewelyn Davies Yeang believe.

A light rail system transporting residents to nearby shops and facilities could be built along the main avenue.

The project would also include a new road to the north of the site, the catalyst for the long-awaited Southend outer relief road.

The c2c rail line could also be extended into the New Ranges as part of a £20million investment.

The c2c rail line could also be extended into the New Ranges as part of a £20million investment.

Part of the site could also be used for a white water rafting centre, possibly for the Olympics if it is built in time, the report suggests.

The University of Essex could also build student accommodation for its campus in Southend town centre and could set up special units to encourage business growth.

The New Ranges site is seen as the one remaining large area of undeveloped land in Southend which could help meet housebuilding targets imposed by the Government.

The whole development would be based on a series of public spaces, which would be linked by the main avenue asnd other streets, aiming to achieve a development which would not be dominated by the car.

A new coastal park would be created on the site aiming to respect the natural habitat and wildlife of the area.

The consultants’ report was commissioned by regeneration company Renaissance Southend and the East of England Development Agency. The report said any future development should contain a number of key focal points:

* The main square with community uses like healthcare and a pub

* A main park with the listed Sutton Manor House set within it and possibly providing further community facilities.
A skyline with the residential area around the planned park having higher buildings with the possible inclusion of a taller tower building.

The report said: “Together these taller buildings could form a recognisable landmark on the skyline.”

* The employment area to the north including an exceptional landscape setting.
However, the report warns the project is dependent upon co-operation from the Ministry of Defence.
It would need to change the location of some weapons testing if it is to go ahead.
A spokesman for the MOD said officials were willing to talk over the plans.

Mike Lambert, chief executive of Renaissance Southend, said: “The council has recently published its new plan for the period up to 2021.

“This includes a proposal for an additional 1400 homes and 3000 jobs at Shoebury. The work carried to date was to examine the potential of part of New Ranges to accommodate all or part of this development.

“While the work has confirmed the physical capacity of the site it has also identified a range of issues including infrastructure, environment and the MoD’s operational requirements that would impact on the feasibility of developing the site, which has always been seen as a long term option.

“Further work needs to be completed before any conclusion can be reached.”

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