Town's tower could come down

Echo: Councillor Ian Gilbert at the site Councillor Ian Gilbert at the site

SOUTHEND Council is considering demolishing four notorious town centre tower blocks that have dominated the skyline for half a century.

Councillors and town planners have held behind-the-scenes talks over flattening the Queensway Estate, which houses more than 600 people, in a major revamp of the heart of Southend, the Echo can reveal.

Quantock, the 16-storey block of flats in Chichester Road, could be redeveloped first as the former QueenswayHouse, next door, has already been cleared.

The Echo understands this first step could happen in just 18 months.

Ian Gilbert, deputy leader of Southend Council, said: “The council is looking at a number of options for the Queensway site. We have not made a decision.

“Obviously there is the land vacant where Queensway House used to be. That’s definitely a development site we are looking at.

“At the same time we can look at the future of the town blocks.”

A year-long study into Southend’s social housing led by David Norman, the senior Labour councillor now responsible for housing, recommended the tower blocks be gutted, refurbished or demolished and rebuilt.

Mr Norman and St Luke’s councillors Brian Ayling and Paul Van Looy have called for round-the-clock security at the tower blocks, which are plagued by antisocial behaviour.

Any revamp of the three blocks north of Queensway, Malvern, Pennine and Chilton, would be several years away, but the vacant Queensway House site makes Quantock ripe for faster redevelopment.

Leaked emails suggest the authority will redevelop the tower blocks between the first and second wave of new council houses it is planning.

The joint administration is planning to build Southend’s first council housing since 1989 on under-used council-owned garages in Shoebury. If successful, more could be built on three more sites in Southend, Eastwood and Leigh.

Replacement social housing would be needed as about 1,550 people are already on the waiting list, but councillors disagree about whether it would be built on the Queensway site.

No demolition would start until all tenants were found new homes, with the Southchurch Mews development in Southchurch Road offering a possible alternative.

The Guinness Trust housing association expects to complete 22 two and three-bedroom flats and 26 three-bedroom houses on the site of the former Maybrook Training Centre and Burland House by next March.

The council hopes derelict office blocks in Victoria Avenue may also be redeveloped as social housing.

Mr Gilbert, who represents Victoria ward, in which Quantock lies, said: “Whatever we do, it’s not going to be rushed.

"Any options are going to be complex.”

Comments (18)

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6:05am Wed 16 Jul 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

Knock it down to rebuild it, makes perfect sense, NOT.
Knock it down to rebuild it, makes perfect sense, NOT. Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: 10

6:55am Wed 16 Jul 14

AuldGit says...

Get rid of the empty office blocks in Victoria Avenue first.
Get rid of the empty office blocks in Victoria Avenue first. AuldGit
  • Score: 28

7:53am Wed 16 Jul 14

alarminstaller says...

Has anyone REALLY considered the reality, or are they living in the world of 'Politicians' scoring points etc.
Has anyone REALLY considered the reality, or are they living in the world of 'Politicians' scoring points etc. alarminstaller
  • Score: 7

8:04am Wed 16 Jul 14

The King of Southend says...

If they are pulled down where will I buy my cracking from?
If they are pulled down where will I buy my cracking from? The King of Southend
  • Score: -9

8:14am Wed 16 Jul 14

Russ13 says...

Keptquiettillnow wrote:
Knock it down to rebuild it, makes perfect sense, NOT.
It does make perfect sense..... these buildings are around 50 years old, built in an era where the requirements of the building and needs of residents were different.

Due to the design, there is ample opportunity for crime and anti-social behaviour to take place as we keep reading and hearing about (it's also referenced in this article).

Sadly, like most things today it's a lot cheaper and easier to throw away and start again. Hundreds of thousands of pounds (if not more) would still be needed to redevelop these blocks but you still might not be able to fix all the problems and make them fit for purpose which would be a bigger waste of time & money in the long run.

It would seem that nothing's been decided yet and there are a number of options on the table.

Perhaps the best solution would be to re-home as many people as possible in the new developments/homes in the immediate vicinity and demolish/rebuild smaller less intrusive blocks of flats on the existing sites?

Whether this will actually happen or not is another matter but I think given the problems the decent residents of these blocks are experiencing something needs to happen and quickly!
[quote][p][bold]Keptquiettillnow[/bold] wrote: Knock it down to rebuild it, makes perfect sense, NOT.[/p][/quote]It does make perfect sense..... these buildings are around 50 years old, built in an era where the requirements of the building and needs of residents were different. Due to the design, there is ample opportunity for crime and anti-social behaviour to take place as we keep reading and hearing about (it's also referenced in this article). Sadly, like most things today it's a lot cheaper and easier to throw away and start again. Hundreds of thousands of pounds (if not more) would still be needed to redevelop these blocks but you still might not be able to fix all the problems and make them fit for purpose which would be a bigger waste of time & money in the long run. It would seem that nothing's been decided yet and there are a number of options on the table. Perhaps the best solution would be to re-home as many people as possible in the new developments/homes in the immediate vicinity and demolish/rebuild smaller less intrusive blocks of flats on the existing sites? Whether this will actually happen or not is another matter but I think given the problems the decent residents of these blocks are experiencing something needs to happen and quickly! Russ13
  • Score: 14

11:09am Wed 16 Jul 14

Southend Andy says...

"Leaked emails suggest the authority will redevelop the tower blocks between the first and second wave of new council houses it is planning."
So who is giving the echo the news?
"Leaked emails suggest the authority will redevelop the tower blocks between the first and second wave of new council houses it is planning." So who is giving the echo the news? Southend Andy
  • Score: 4

12:37pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

Russ13 wrote:
Keptquiettillnow wrote: Knock it down to rebuild it, makes perfect sense, NOT.
It does make perfect sense..... these buildings are around 50 years old, built in an era where the requirements of the building and needs of residents were different. Due to the design, there is ample opportunity for crime and anti-social behaviour to take place as we keep reading and hearing about (it's also referenced in this article). Sadly, like most things today it's a lot cheaper and easier to throw away and start again. Hundreds of thousands of pounds (if not more) would still be needed to redevelop these blocks but you still might not be able to fix all the problems and make them fit for purpose which would be a bigger waste of time & money in the long run. It would seem that nothing's been decided yet and there are a number of options on the table. Perhaps the best solution would be to re-home as many people as possible in the new developments/homes in the immediate vicinity and demolish/rebuild smaller less intrusive blocks of flats on the existing sites? Whether this will actually happen or not is another matter but I think given the problems the decent residents of these blocks are experiencing something needs to happen and quickly!
If you rebuild another tower block you will replace what you have got now. Tower blocks do not work for social housing.
[quote][p][bold]Russ13[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Keptquiettillnow[/bold] wrote: Knock it down to rebuild it, makes perfect sense, NOT.[/p][/quote]It does make perfect sense..... these buildings are around 50 years old, built in an era where the requirements of the building and needs of residents were different. Due to the design, there is ample opportunity for crime and anti-social behaviour to take place as we keep reading and hearing about (it's also referenced in this article). Sadly, like most things today it's a lot cheaper and easier to throw away and start again. Hundreds of thousands of pounds (if not more) would still be needed to redevelop these blocks but you still might not be able to fix all the problems and make them fit for purpose which would be a bigger waste of time & money in the long run. It would seem that nothing's been decided yet and there are a number of options on the table. Perhaps the best solution would be to re-home as many people as possible in the new developments/homes in the immediate vicinity and demolish/rebuild smaller less intrusive blocks of flats on the existing sites? Whether this will actually happen or not is another matter but I think given the problems the decent residents of these blocks are experiencing something needs to happen and quickly![/p][/quote]If you rebuild another tower block you will replace what you have got now. Tower blocks do not work for social housing. Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: -4

5:47pm Wed 16 Jul 14

rhowes says...

Nowhere in this article does anyone say why they think these buildings should be demolished!
Due to their age, it is likely that they need some refurbishment. Most families modernise their homes from time to time.
What the authorities should be doing is dealing with any anti-social behaviour in the area in an effective manner.
Nowhere in this article does anyone say why they think these buildings should be demolished! Due to their age, it is likely that they need some refurbishment. Most families modernise their homes from time to time. What the authorities should be doing is dealing with any anti-social behaviour in the area in an effective manner. rhowes
  • Score: 3

9:36pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Maddogg says...

Flatten the lot. Let the drug taking murdering scum move out to somewhere more sociably advanced, then maybe they can adapt into a normal society.
Flatten the lot. Let the drug taking murdering scum move out to somewhere more sociably advanced, then maybe they can adapt into a normal society. Maddogg
  • Score: -4

11:29pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Saxonpride says...

Why knock it down? All it needs is a lick of paint, more greenery, STRICT noise laws and a constant, constant, constant police presence. A tower block should not have rap music blaring out at all hours, it should not have people shouting and screaming.

It should be quiet, tranquil, and designed to soothe the inhabitants. Noisy neighbours should be evicted INSTANTLY, vandals should be kicked out, delinquent gangs and loiterers punished. Get tough, and you'll save a lot of money and needless bother.
Why knock it down? All it needs is a lick of paint, more greenery, STRICT noise laws and a constant, constant, constant police presence. A tower block should not have rap music blaring out at all hours, it should not have people shouting and screaming. It should be quiet, tranquil, and designed to soothe the inhabitants. Noisy neighbours should be evicted INSTANTLY, vandals should be kicked out, delinquent gangs and loiterers punished. Get tough, and you'll save a lot of money and needless bother. Saxonpride
  • Score: 7

7:02am Thu 17 Jul 14

rodgdodge says...

Ok .
Knock them down.
Replace with mixed private and social accommodation of various sizes, with large enclosed balconies/ terraces.
But , rebuild with proper well designed ( preferably, much taller, at least 25 stories) `vertical living` complexes.
With social areas and retail, incorporated , not just at ground floor, but say every 6 levels.
Permanent security, cctv ect. would be economic, if there were sufficient dwellings to cover the cost ( maintenance charge!).
This would create a sense of ` community`.
Ok . Knock them down. Replace with mixed private and social accommodation of various sizes, with large enclosed balconies/ terraces. But , rebuild with proper well designed ( preferably, much taller, at least 25 stories) `vertical living` complexes. With social areas and retail, incorporated , not just at ground floor, but say every 6 levels. Permanent security, cctv ect. would be economic, if there were sufficient dwellings to cover the cost ( maintenance charge!). This would create a sense of ` community`. rodgdodge
  • Score: -1

3:10pm Thu 17 Jul 14

poortaxpayer says...

Apparently they are going to blow the towers up with the residents still inside. Crime in Southend will be slashed.
Apparently they are going to blow the towers up with the residents still inside. Crime in Southend will be slashed. poortaxpayer
  • Score: -1

2:01am Tue 22 Jul 14

Mike Smith says...

Regarding the report that Quantock block may be demolished, as referred to in the Echo article of 18th March 2014:
http://www.echo-news
.co.uk/news/11082286
.Quantock_revamp_pla
ns_being_explored_by
_Southend_Council

... this caused considerable distress among us residents on the Queensway Estate, some of whom have lived here since the estate was built in the 1960s.

Fortunately, we have an active Queensway Community Residents Group, and on 13th June we invited Councillor David Norman to come along and address us, and to answer questions about the proposals being set out in that Echo article.

David Norman stated that no decision has been made about any of the tower blocks in Southend. The future of Queensway Estate may be discussed at some future Council meeting, but any matters affecting residents will only take place with full consultation, and it may be 2, 3 or 4 years before anything happens.

Mr Norman assured us that there was nothing to worry about, and as a man who was the Mayor of our town, and a trustworthy person, I would much rather accept Mr Norman's word than any bilge presented here on the Echo website.

I am most surprised that the Echo would base a story like this on "leaked e-mails", which is practically like saying you report rumours as news.

And for your information, we on the Queensway Estate are very positive about the future we are building here for our residents: we are planning diverse activities and events to help our community grow, and we will soon introduce some new youth projects to give our young people something positive to do with their free time.

As for the so-called criminality and drug issues that often get raised by the whingers on this site - most of the trouble is caused by people who do not actually live on our estate.

One big issue was the murder of Chris Ryan in 2011, and that was found to have been committed by an unemployed man from Westbury Road (Southend), and another unemployed guy from Rochford - so why is the blame always attached to the residents of Queensway Estate, when it is the low-lifes from elsewhere who are responsible?

So, if some drunk or druggie sits on your doorstep, and creates a scene, do you want to be considered responsible for that behaviour, and to be considered a drunk or druggie yourself? If you do like to label yourself like the worst elements in the area, then I suppose you will think badly of everyone you meet, not just those living on Queensway Estate. A bit like that old parable I was told many years ago:

A man moved to a new town. He asked a local resident whether the people there were friendly or not.
The resident asked the man, “What were people like where you used to live?”
The newcomer scowled and said, “They were really an unfriendly and rude bunch, and I couldn’t wait to get away from that place.”
The resident said, “Well, I’m afraid you’ll find the people here are pretty much the same.”
A week later, another man came to town. He happened to meet the same resident and asked him the same question. The local asked this second newcomer the same question: “What were the people like in the town where you used to live?”
This newcomer smiled and said, “Oh, that town was the friendliest place you could ever imagine.”
The local returned the smile and said, “Well, I’m glad to hear it, I think you’ll find people here are very friendly too.”
Regarding the report that Quantock block may be demolished, as referred to in the Echo article of 18th March 2014: http://www.echo-news .co.uk/news/11082286 .Quantock_revamp_pla ns_being_explored_by _Southend_Council ... this caused considerable distress among us residents on the Queensway Estate, some of whom have lived here since the estate was built in the 1960s. Fortunately, we have an active Queensway Community Residents Group, and on 13th June we invited Councillor David Norman to come along and address us, and to answer questions about the proposals being set out in that Echo article. David Norman stated that no decision has been made about any of the tower blocks in Southend. The future of Queensway Estate may be discussed at some future Council meeting, but any matters affecting residents will only take place with full consultation, and it may be 2, 3 or 4 years before anything happens. Mr Norman assured us that there was nothing to worry about, and as a man who was the Mayor of our town, and a trustworthy person, I would much rather accept Mr Norman's word than any bilge presented here on the Echo website. I am most surprised that the Echo would base a story like this on "leaked e-mails", which is practically like saying you report rumours as news. And for your information, we on the Queensway Estate are very positive about the future we are building here for our residents: we are planning diverse activities and events to help our community grow, and we will soon introduce some new youth projects to give our young people something positive to do with their free time. As for the so-called criminality and drug issues that often get raised by the whingers on this site - most of the trouble is caused by people who do not actually live on our estate. One big issue was the murder of Chris Ryan in 2011, and that was found to have been committed by an unemployed man from Westbury Road (Southend), and another unemployed guy from Rochford - so why is the blame always attached to the residents of Queensway Estate, when it is the low-lifes from elsewhere who are responsible? So, if some drunk or druggie sits on your doorstep, and creates a scene, do you want to be considered responsible for that behaviour, and to be considered a drunk or druggie yourself? If you do like to label yourself like the worst elements in the area, then I suppose you will think badly of everyone you meet, not just those living on Queensway Estate. A bit like that old parable I was told many years ago: A man moved to a new town. He asked a local resident whether the people there were friendly or not. The resident asked the man, “What were people like where you used to live?” The newcomer scowled and said, “They were really an unfriendly and rude bunch, and I couldn’t wait to get away from that place.” The resident said, “Well, I’m afraid you’ll find the people here are pretty much the same.” A week later, another man came to town. He happened to meet the same resident and asked him the same question. The local asked this second newcomer the same question: “What were the people like in the town where you used to live?” This newcomer smiled and said, “Oh, that town was the friendliest place you could ever imagine.” The local returned the smile and said, “Well, I’m glad to hear it, I think you’ll find people here are very friendly too.” Mike Smith
  • Score: 3

10:47am Thu 31 Jul 14

Chymes81 says...

Free Housing For Drunks, Druggies, and General Dole Scroungers. BANG. Building Falls Down. Oops. Tax payers saved thousands each month not having to support these now deceased wasters. Hooray. Can I push the button Please.
Free Housing For Drunks, Druggies, and General Dole Scroungers. BANG. Building Falls Down. Oops. Tax payers saved thousands each month not having to support these now deceased wasters. Hooray. Can I push the button Please. Chymes81
  • Score: -1

1:15am Sat 2 Aug 14

Mike Smith says...

Chymes81 wrote:
Free Housing For Drunks, Druggies, and General Dole Scroungers. BANG. Building Falls Down. Oops. Tax payers saved thousands each month not having to support these now deceased wasters. Hooray. Can I push the button Please.
What a piece of sh*t you are. I am a leaseholder here, and I paid good money to buy my flat.

I like living here - it is actually good place to live. There are no more drunks, drug addicts and unemployed here than you will find in your own street. You ****.

Why don't you get a life and do something useful, and then perhaps you will find a reason to life a useful life yourself.
[quote][p][bold]Chymes81[/bold] wrote: Free Housing For Drunks, Druggies, and General Dole Scroungers. BANG. Building Falls Down. Oops. Tax payers saved thousands each month not having to support these now deceased wasters. Hooray. Can I push the button Please.[/p][/quote]What a piece of sh*t you are. I am a leaseholder here, and I paid good money to buy my flat. I like living here - it is actually good place to live. There are no more drunks, drug addicts and unemployed here than you will find in your own street. You ****. Why don't you get a life and do something useful, and then perhaps you will find a reason to life a useful life yourself. Mike Smith
  • Score: 1

1:19am Sat 2 Aug 14

Mike Smith says...

Chymes81 wrote:
Free Housing For Drunks, Druggies, and General Dole Scroungers. BANG. Building Falls Down. Oops. Tax payers saved thousands each month not having to support these now deceased wasters. Hooray. Can I push the button Please.
I called you an **** h*ole. I don't want to be accused of using bad language on a public forum.
[quote][p][bold]Chymes81[/bold] wrote: Free Housing For Drunks, Druggies, and General Dole Scroungers. BANG. Building Falls Down. Oops. Tax payers saved thousands each month not having to support these now deceased wasters. Hooray. Can I push the button Please.[/p][/quote]I called you an **** h*ole. I don't want to be accused of using bad language on a public forum. Mike Smith
  • Score: 1

1:27am Sat 2 Aug 14

Mike Smith says...

Chymes81 wrote:
Free Housing For Drunks, Druggies, and General Dole Scroungers. BANG. Building Falls Down. Oops. Tax payers saved thousands each month not having to support these now deceased wasters. Hooray. Can I push the button Please.
I can call you an **** if I want to because your head is up it!
[quote][p][bold]Chymes81[/bold] wrote: Free Housing For Drunks, Druggies, and General Dole Scroungers. BANG. Building Falls Down. Oops. Tax payers saved thousands each month not having to support these now deceased wasters. Hooray. Can I push the button Please.[/p][/quote]I can call you an **** if I want to because your head is up it! Mike Smith
  • Score: 1

1:31am Sat 2 Aug 14

Mike Smith says...

Typical isn't it, that even to call somebody a name of a beast that makes a hee haw noise is censored on the Echo website ...
Typical isn't it, that even to call somebody a name of a beast that makes a hee haw noise is censored on the Echo website ... Mike Smith
  • Score: 1

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