Ambitious plans to redesign Southend’s Queensway estate are set to include 1,000 homes in what is set to be the biggest housebuilding project in the town for decades.

After spending £150,000 and doing a year of research, Southend Council has unveiled its initial ideas to regenerate the estate, including: ! Doubling the amount of homes there from 417 to 1,000.

! A new development which connects Southend Victoria station to the Victoria Centre, potentially like a concourse with the elevator internal and shops lining the walkway.

! Covering over the Queensway roundabout, including closing the subway, to allow people to cross at ground level to better connect to the town centre.

! A tunnel will be created underneath the cover for the Queensway dual carriageway.

! Make Porters and All Saints Church a focal point of the new estate.

! Putting an extra lane in Chichester Road from the Queensway dual carriageway to Soutchurch Road.

However, no decision has been made on whether the estate’s four notorious tower blocks will come down or not.

A survey done as part of the initial project outline has found the blocks, built in the Sixties, are neither in a terrible, or great condition.

David Norman, Southend councillor responsible for housing, said: “Hand on heart, we are not at a stage yet whether we can definitely say whether they will stay or go.

“Very, very difficult decisions will be made in the future.”

A total of 440 of the homes on the estate will be affordable.

If the tower blocks, or some of them, are kept, they will be refurbished in line with the rest of the estate.

The authority has revealed it has opened talks with Network Rail over redesigning the station to directly connect it with the shopping centre.

Senior officers have laid out three options to be discussed by the authority’s cabinet next Tuesday to proceeed with the project: For the council to do it itself; to go into partnership with a developer; or secure a leasetype deal with a developer.

The authority wants a developer on board by next summer, and work could start, pending planning permissions, by Autumn 2017

'We want to build a new community'

The Queensway development has been hailed as the biggest regeneration project Southend has ever seen.

Senior councillors say they want to create a new community, of both old and new tenants on the estate.

As well as an eye-watering number of houses, the plans also include a new doctor’s surgery, new shops, cafes, a community centre, and even a crèche.

Their initial ideas – the fruits of a year of research – will continue to be developed while the authority looks at how it will be able to finance the project and what developers could come on board.

David Norman, councillor responsible for housing, said: “This is the biggest and most exciting regeneration project Southend has seen. A lot of the background work has been done and that puts us in a good position as we move further forwards and seek to attract developers to help us deliver a better Queensway with better housing, better living, and a better place connected with the town centre.”

David Ubaka, who has been hured by the council as the project manager, has previously worked on huge developments as head of design for Transport for London.

He said his team’s research has shown that 1,000 homes are needed to make the regeneration financially viable.

He added: “We are trying to create a mixed community, not just a community which is there at the moment. We don’t want to replicate what is already there – this is a good opportunity to create a new community.”