Big Conversation: What should be done in Southend's Victoria Avenue?

What should be done in Victoria Avenue?

What should be done in Victoria Avenue?

First published in News

SOUTHEND Council has put in a bid to buy two dilapidated office blocks in Victoria Avenue, to kickstart the regeneration of the area. We asked what people would like to see replace them.

INDEPENDENT SOUTHEND COUNCILLOR MARTIN TERRY

“CLEARLY this area is now defunct as a business area.

“We have got some major business park developments happening elsewhere in the borough.

“I would like to see it go back to housing, which is ironic because it was all housing until they built those God-awful tower blocks.

“I would want to see some high-quality family housing in there though, not rabbit hutches.”

JOHN LAMB, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION TORY GROUP ON SOUTHEND COUNCIL

“WE had looked at developing the area for a long time and we were hoping the owners could have either refurbished the buildings or pulled them down.

“Ideally, we hoped for shops and some homes with gardens, as that would make the road much more attractive.

“We also were pushing for some office blocks to still remain, but they would have had to been modernised.

“We pushed the Government for cash and we will continue to push the new administration to make sure this regeneration happens.”

JAMES DUDDRIDGE, TORY MP FOR ROCHFORD AND SOUTHEND EAST 

“VICTORIA Avenue has been in need of regeneration for many years. The access to Southend via Victoria Avenue does not do the town justice and I welcome investment to improve this gateway.

“I think the area will benefit from economic investment and a corporate approach, but that doesn’t mean housing should not be considered, as there is a need for additional housing in Southend and mixed use seems to be better for a cohesive micro community.

“I support mixed developments including housing on Victoria Avenue, the seafront and elsewhere.”

DAVID BURCH, ESSEX CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

“THEY are the buildings opposite the council offices, and they are really ugly buildings.

“Clearly there is a real need for them to be developed and they can’t be left for too much longer.

“We are 100 per cent in support of the council trying to attract inward investment.

“We have no particular views on what should happen there, but a mixed use development, perhaps of shops and housing, seems logical.

“These days, it seems best trying to createamixed use development rather than zoning it for one particular activity, but the crucial thing is to get things moving so that will create jobs in the local ec onomy.”

TREVOR INNARD, 61, OFF NEARBY CROWBOROUGH ROAD

“IT was mentioned a few years ago the council would buy the blocks and develop them for residential purposes.

“We said OK, but we had concerns about parking, making the situation worse for neighbouring streets. Eventually we won the battle and they shelved the plans.

“If they use them for council offices now, they need to make sure people use the parking spaces available, or a public open space would be good.”

MARK SHARP, 44, COMMITTEE MEMBER OF CAMPAIGN GROUP SKIPP

“IN our opinion, with a piece of land that size, the obvious and only thing that should be put in their place is affordable housing.

“It’s simple.

We have thousands of people on the housing waiting list.

The price of housing is horrendous, b e c a u s e there is so little available.

“There is potential for commercial properties, but in our opinion it should primarily be used for housing.

“I don’t think there is a massive call for that amount of commercial property. I could see a situation where, if they built more offices, they would stand empty.”

ROSE CHAPMAN, 82, OF QUANTOCK FLATS, CHICHESTER ROAD

“THEY should put houses there. I should like to see a nice bungalow, which I could live in. I wouldn’t mind that.

“Or there could be a couple of high rise blocks of flats, provided they put real people in there, not the druggies we have in here.

“I wouldn’t mind living down in that area, but by the time anything happens, I’ll be in a box.

“What’s the good of having offices down there when there are so many empty ones around town.

How it is now is a disgrace.”

IAN GILBERT, DEPUTY LEADER OF SOUTHEND COUNCIL

“THE important thing is to get the derelict blocks taken down as quickly as possible.

“They are blighting the area, causing a nuisance to nearby residents and discouraging investment.

“In the future, I think we will be looking at a mix of uses.

“This could include smaller, more modern commercial property and an element of housing.

“There is little demand for huge office blocks, but the site is big enough to generate both jobs and homes if properly redeveloped.”

Comments (28)

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3:34pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

A park would be nice.
A park would be nice. Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: 17

3:41pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Sensible Man says...

I would like to see this brownfield site redeveloped to apartment blocks consisting of one / two bedroom flats. These should be sold / rented long-term leasehold by the council at an "at cost" rate and total priority should be given to people who have long-term family / ancestral links with the Southend area. We do not want the site wasted on "family" social-housing used to reward people who have massive numbers of children and who expect the state / council to support them.

Anyone disagree??
I would like to see this brownfield site redeveloped to apartment blocks consisting of one / two bedroom flats. These should be sold / rented long-term leasehold by the council at an "at cost" rate and total priority should be given to people who have long-term family / ancestral links with the Southend area. We do not want the site wasted on "family" social-housing used to reward people who have massive numbers of children and who expect the state / council to support them. Anyone disagree?? Sensible Man
  • Score: 30

3:54pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Howard Cháse says...

Sensibly planned low rise social housing
Sensibly planned low rise social housing Howard Cháse
  • Score: 21

4:28pm Wed 6 Aug 14

w-jback says...

Nice comments above except in 10 years time they would look like all other social housing estates with cars on front gardens, lawns uncut, house and fences unkempt etc and people would be saying - It was so much better with the office blocks there! Nice family Houses would be the best idea, like the Cuckoo corner area end of Victoria Avenue.
Nice comments above except in 10 years time they would look like all other social housing estates with cars on front gardens, lawns uncut, house and fences unkempt etc and people would be saying - It was so much better with the office blocks there! Nice family Houses would be the best idea, like the Cuckoo corner area end of Victoria Avenue. w-jback
  • Score: 17

4:30pm Wed 6 Aug 14

w-jback says...

By the way - absolutely no commercial property. Not needed or wanted. Plenty of Commercial property available in the town and surrounding industrial estates.
By the way - absolutely no commercial property. Not needed or wanted. Plenty of Commercial property available in the town and surrounding industrial estates. w-jback
  • Score: 20

4:34pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Howard Cháse says...

Lots of pawnbrokers, coffee chains, poundshops, charity shops, empty retail units.


Would blend in nicely....
Lots of pawnbrokers, coffee chains, poundshops, charity shops, empty retail units. Would blend in nicely.... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 4

4:42pm Wed 6 Aug 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

Bungalows. We've got more than enough flats.
Bungalows. We've got more than enough flats. GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: 8

4:47pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Bargee26 says...

I have high hopes for our new Council who I’m sure will effectively consult with the electorate on what’s best for the area: unlike the previous regime who did just what ‘they’ thought, with complete disregard for the views of the electorate!
I have high hopes for our new Council who I’m sure will effectively consult with the electorate on what’s best for the area: unlike the previous regime who did just what ‘they’ thought, with complete disregard for the views of the electorate! Bargee26
  • Score: 3

4:59pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Sensible Man says...

Bungalows would be nice - BUT - I really believe that this is one brownfield site where high-density flats should be built. The council can then tell the disgusting shoebox merchants to clear off when they come up with their latest stinking filth schemes to build on the green belt. AND - there must be a total ban on letting London councils get a hold of ANY of the flats as they try to displace their crazily rising populations. AND WE ALL KNOW THE REASON FOR THAT GROWING POPULATION DON'T WE - USELESS LIB / LAB / CON GOVERNMENTS!!!! WAKE UP CAMERON - LOOK AT CALAIS AND B***** WELL DO SOMETHING!!! YOU REALLY ARE USELESS!!!!
Bungalows would be nice - BUT - I really believe that this is one brownfield site where high-density flats should be built. The council can then tell the disgusting shoebox merchants to clear off when they come up with their latest stinking filth schemes to build on the green belt. AND - there must be a total ban on letting London councils get a hold of ANY of the flats as they try to displace their crazily rising populations. AND WE ALL KNOW THE REASON FOR THAT GROWING POPULATION DON'T WE - USELESS LIB / LAB / CON GOVERNMENTS!!!! WAKE UP CAMERON - LOOK AT CALAIS AND B***** WELL DO SOMETHING!!! YOU REALLY ARE USELESS!!!! Sensible Man
  • Score: 9

5:18pm Wed 6 Aug 14

supermadmax says...

Forget the housing, they won't give it to locals, they will strike a deal with another London council to ship all the undesirables down.

Need to reduce rents, and encourage business to set up shop in the area and employ local people. I'd be in favour of giving large (ish) companies free or subsidised rent provided they commit to employing 50 or so local people each. More cash in the pocket, more spent on high st, boost to the all around local area.
Forget the housing, they won't give it to locals, they will strike a deal with another London council to ship all the undesirables down. Need to reduce rents, and encourage business to set up shop in the area and employ local people. I'd be in favour of giving large (ish) companies free or subsidised rent provided they commit to employing 50 or so local people each. More cash in the pocket, more spent on high st, boost to the all around local area. supermadmax
  • Score: 16

6:14pm Wed 6 Aug 14

runwellian says...

It needs to be a bit of everything, shops, houses, bungalows, social clubs, not just a concrete jungle that in a few years times will look the same mess as Victoria Avenue is today.
It needs to be a bit of everything, shops, houses, bungalows, social clubs, not just a concrete jungle that in a few years times will look the same mess as Victoria Avenue is today. runwellian
  • Score: 10

7:52pm Wed 6 Aug 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

But would a load of high density flats stop further building on green fields? I doubt it. I think I am right in saying that the number of bungalows built each year can be counted on one hand these days yet if we want older residents to trade down and free up larger family houses, that is more akin to what they want - they certainly dont want to be in a high-rise where the communal lift is used as a urinal (or worse). If the Council can get the land at a knock-down price it can, without the need of a profit motive, do something "right" rather than merely expedient.
But would a load of high density flats stop further building on green fields? I doubt it. I think I am right in saying that the number of bungalows built each year can be counted on one hand these days yet if we want older residents to trade down and free up larger family houses, that is more akin to what they want - they certainly dont want to be in a high-rise where the communal lift is used as a urinal (or worse). If the Council can get the land at a knock-down price it can, without the need of a profit motive, do something "right" rather than merely expedient. GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: 6

8:43pm Wed 6 Aug 14

ThisYear says...

Sensible Man wrote:
I would like to see this brownfield site redeveloped to apartment blocks consisting of one / two bedroom flats. These should be sold / rented long-term leasehold by the council at an "at cost" rate and total priority should be given to people who have long-term family / ancestral links with the Southend area. We do not want the site wasted on "family" social-housing used to reward people who have massive numbers of children and who expect the state / council to support them.

Anyone disagree??
Yes...in principle over your principles.
[quote][p][bold]Sensible Man[/bold] wrote: I would like to see this brownfield site redeveloped to apartment blocks consisting of one / two bedroom flats. These should be sold / rented long-term leasehold by the council at an "at cost" rate and total priority should be given to people who have long-term family / ancestral links with the Southend area. We do not want the site wasted on "family" social-housing used to reward people who have massive numbers of children and who expect the state / council to support them. Anyone disagree??[/p][/quote]Yes...in principle over your principles. ThisYear
  • Score: -6

8:44pm Wed 6 Aug 14

ThisYear says...

How about they put a bust of Gandy on the top in the interim...to keep the pigeons and seagulls away?
How about they put a bust of Gandy on the top in the interim...to keep the pigeons and seagulls away? ThisYear
  • Score: 1

9:12pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Royr says...

Parks, bungalows - come down from planet Zanusie.

As some have said, low rise (3 storey) 1 or 2 bed flats with 1 parking space per bedroom (3 storey car park)

At the end of the day, I do not envy the poor old council - whatever they do will be wrong to some people
Parks, bungalows - come down from planet Zanusie. As some have said, low rise (3 storey) 1 or 2 bed flats with 1 parking space per bedroom (3 storey car park) At the end of the day, I do not envy the poor old council - whatever they do will be wrong to some people Royr
  • Score: 4

9:43pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Nebs says...

Build a prison there.
Build a prison there. Nebs
  • Score: 3

9:57pm Wed 6 Aug 14

cairoqueen says...

The college should have put that multi coloured monstrosity there instead of in town , and the college too.
The college should have put that multi coloured monstrosity there instead of in town , and the college too. cairoqueen
  • Score: 9

9:59pm Wed 6 Aug 14

cairoqueen says...

I dint know why the council are asking us, they will do what they like despite our opinions .anything to make them money
I dint know why the council are asking us, they will do what they like despite our opinions .anything to make them money cairoqueen
  • Score: 11

10:19pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Mike Smith says...

It is well known that we need more social housing in Southend, and it would make perfect sense to look for a cheap option to simply convert these buildings into flats,. Demolition and rebuilding is more costly and lengthy and it depends on who has the money to spend, I guess.

On the ground floors of these buildings I would recommend making available some community spaces to encourage more activities for the local community. We have far too few useful spaces in which to meet and promote social, cultural, sports activities.
It is well known that we need more social housing in Southend, and it would make perfect sense to look for a cheap option to simply convert these buildings into flats,. Demolition and rebuilding is more costly and lengthy and it depends on who has the money to spend, I guess. On the ground floors of these buildings I would recommend making available some community spaces to encourage more activities for the local community. We have far too few useful spaces in which to meet and promote social, cultural, sports activities. Mike Smith
  • Score: 2

7:23am Thu 7 Aug 14

The King of Southend says...

When I was young Victoria Avenue was a thriving centre of activity and at lunchtime hundreds of smartly dressed people would head into town to spend money.

OK a lot of the jobs might have been clerical roles but they paid for mortgages and cars. Walking around Southend these days it is quite obvious that there is a sizeable underclass with little chance of securing well paid work locally or in the city.

I think Southend council should try and tempt technology companies into Victoria avenue by providing high speed communications, adequate power and cheap office space. There are lots of small technology firms in London that really struggle finding suitable business premises and Southend is less than an hour away by C2C which is one of the best lines in the country.
When I was young Victoria Avenue was a thriving centre of activity and at lunchtime hundreds of smartly dressed people would head into town to spend money. OK a lot of the jobs might have been clerical roles but they paid for mortgages and cars. Walking around Southend these days it is quite obvious that there is a sizeable underclass with little chance of securing well paid work locally or in the city. I think Southend council should try and tempt technology companies into Victoria avenue by providing high speed communications, adequate power and cheap office space. There are lots of small technology firms in London that really struggle finding suitable business premises and Southend is less than an hour away by C2C which is one of the best lines in the country. The King of Southend
  • Score: 16

8:26am Thu 7 Aug 14

CHRISTMAS CAROL says...

Dont care what you do with it but do it SOON
Dont care what you do with it but do it SOON CHRISTMAS CAROL
  • Score: 1

8:34am Thu 7 Aug 14

taylor5788 says...

High quality housing? No such thing in our town any more. The council demolished 95% of our high quality house and converted the other 5% into scummy bedsits. They will build 200,000 tiny rabbit-hutch-sized "affordable" houses and probably 2 Tesco's. Nothing useful.
High quality housing? No such thing in our town any more. The council demolished 95% of our high quality house and converted the other 5% into scummy bedsits. They will build 200,000 tiny rabbit-hutch-sized "affordable" houses and probably 2 Tesco's. Nothing useful. taylor5788
  • Score: 4

9:38am Thu 7 Aug 14

maxell says...

what is needed to attract is somthing speacial an iconic building nothing like onion or shard may be something realy tall that could be seen for miles , something that put southend on a map building wise, this would fit in with the current buildings and this would attract companies. the only problem that I could see is the airport/Caa would pull rank and stop this type of developemnt over safety, shot in the foot, my opinion as always
what is needed to attract is somthing speacial an iconic building nothing like onion or shard may be something realy tall that could be seen for miles , something that put southend on a map building wise, this would fit in with the current buildings and this would attract companies. the only problem that I could see is the airport/Caa would pull rank and stop this type of developemnt over safety, shot in the foot, my opinion as always maxell
  • Score: 0

11:05am Thu 7 Aug 14

Nelly99 says...

Oh no...when I hear the words social housing I want to reach for my gun. Wasn't Vic Ave housing before they knocked them all down to build office blocks? The snag with building proper houses there is that the people who could afford them wouldn't want to live on such a main road. The houses from Harcourt down to the Blue Boar were once nice established family houses and now most are converted to shabby flats. There is a great opportunity here to build something fantastic that will a gateway to the town, but I bet they don't.
Oh no...when I hear the words social housing I want to reach for my gun. Wasn't Vic Ave housing before they knocked them all down to build office blocks? The snag with building proper houses there is that the people who could afford them wouldn't want to live on such a main road. The houses from Harcourt down to the Blue Boar were once nice established family houses and now most are converted to shabby flats. There is a great opportunity here to build something fantastic that will a gateway to the town, but I bet they don't. Nelly99
  • Score: 8

4:26pm Thu 7 Aug 14

kensbowling says...

they should knock them all down and start from scratch, they are an eye sore and haven for vagrants etc , more green areas grass and tree lined Victoria Avenue would look more pleasing.
they should knock them all down and start from scratch, they are an eye sore and haven for vagrants etc , more green areas grass and tree lined Victoria Avenue would look more pleasing. kensbowling
  • Score: 2

5:54pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Bosniavet says...

Social housing, 1 & 2 bedroom properties, maybe a sheltered housing complex as well due to it's good transport links & proximity to the town centre. However, as long as the Civic Centre is opposite that won't happen, I daresay the Police wouldn't be too happy about it either as they couldn't ignore any problems there directly opposite them could they? I'd like to think I will be proved wrong, but unhappily I doubt that will happen.....
Social housing, 1 & 2 bedroom properties, maybe a sheltered housing complex as well due to it's good transport links & proximity to the town centre. However, as long as the Civic Centre is opposite that won't happen, I daresay the Police wouldn't be too happy about it either as they couldn't ignore any problems there directly opposite them could they? I'd like to think I will be proved wrong, but unhappily I doubt that will happen..... Bosniavet
  • Score: 1

5:50pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Controversial1 says...

Multi Entertainment centre..... paintball on a couple of levels, bowling on another, social area on another blah blah blah...... get the kids off the streets and bonding rather than becoming overweight lazy hood-rats
Multi Entertainment centre..... paintball on a couple of levels, bowling on another, social area on another blah blah blah...... get the kids off the streets and bonding rather than becoming overweight lazy hood-rats Controversial1
  • Score: 1

10:30am Fri 15 Aug 14

looneyhills1 says...

Building flats would add to the traffic congestion around victoria gateway, more anti social behaviour and more bored kids roaming the streets. Southend is supposed to be a tourist attraction. Where is the indoor ski slope.
Building flats would add to the traffic congestion around victoria gateway, more anti social behaviour and more bored kids roaming the streets. Southend is supposed to be a tourist attraction. Where is the indoor ski slope. looneyhills1
  • Score: 0

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