New communal area and playground opens in Southend city centre

July 25, 2023

Southend shoppers and visitors to the city centre are being encouraged to make use of a new relaxing landscaped area and playground just off the high street.

Located on Elmer Approach adjacent to The Forum library and South Essex College, Elmer Square forms part of The Southend Town Centre Interventions Project which is being partly funded from the Local Growth Fund.

The council was successful in securing £1.625m of local government funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to support the regeneration and revitalisation of Southend city centre, and one of the chosen areas was Elmer Square.

As well as being a relaxing green space, Elmer Square also features a children’s playground and it is hoped the area will become a cultural, educational and community quarter through links with The Forum and South Essex College located nearby.

Southend-on-Sea City Council engaged with various partners including Southend BID, Focal Point gallery and the Community Safety Partnership to find a creative solution for the area which had suffered from a fragmented identity, was hidden from the high street, and had experienced antisocial behaviour.

Cllr James Moyies, deputy cabinet member for economic growth and development, said: “By increasing social and economic use of Elmer Square with a communal garden and play area, as well as entertainment, education, and cultural events, the redesign addresses public concerns relating to community safety and some of the look and feel factors which contribute to that.

“Looking ahead to the next phase of the area’s regeneration would see work extend to Southend Central station and the plaza area outside South Essex College – imagine Camden Town or Carnaby Street. We want to attract people from the high street and give them plenty of great reasons to want to visit what we hope will become a not so hidden gem.”

Adam Bryan, chief executive of SELEP, added: “We are delighted to see this new phase of town centre regeneration open in Southend, the nature of our town centres has changed and these spaces are now important cultural and community anchors. We are pleased to invest in this project to improve the physical environment and encourage footfall and future investment into the area.”


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