Major project to improve entrance to Southend High Street

September 12, 2017 by Joanna

A £2m scheme to improve an important gateway to Southend High Street will be considered by the council’s cabinet next week.

The project would see a much improved public area including better lighting, an improved drainage system, seating, block paving and enhanced landscaping along London Road (between Queensway and College Way). It will also include the removal of two mini-roundabouts and improved access and safety for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Smaller-scale improvements will also be made between London Road and The Forum along College Way, Queens Road and Elmer Avenue.

If approved by Cabinet, work will start shortly and will focus firstly on improving the drainage network, with an additional 100m3 of storage created, which will allow surface water to be held and discharged into the drainage system at a very slow rate during extreme rainfall and storms. This would be followed by the public realm improvements.  

The project is being fully funded by the Department for Transport’s Local Growth Fund through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) who will also be asked to approve the plans on 22nd September.  

Key features of the proposed layouts in both options include:  

·         Realignment of the roads and pavements to include cycling space
·         Replacement of Sainsbury’s’ mini roundabout with a simple junction acting as a traffic calming feature
·         Replacement of the mini roundabout junction at College Way with a simple junction acting as a traffic calming feature
·         Speed reduction measures at London Road’s junction with Ashburnham Road and Gordon Road
·         Reduction in the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph
·         Sustainable Urban Drainage System along the footway and cycleway
·         Improved street lighting
·         New block paving of footway, cycleway and parking bays
·         Improvements to landscaping including introduction of trees and planters  

Cllr Tony Cox, Executive Councillor for Transport, Waste and Cleansing, says: “These changes will provide a larger area for pedestrians and cyclists, a much improved street environment for shoppers and diners, and continued access for essential delivery vehicles, taxis and cars. It will also see a major improvement to our drainage network, with increased capacity for extreme weather events.  

“It is a testament to council officers that we have secured this central Government investment in our town centre, enabling us to improve the appearance of this key gateway and also encourage further private sector investment.”  

The work falls under the Council’s £7m Southend Central Area Transport scheme, which, when completed, will have seen work carried out across central Southend along Victoria Avenue, the London Road area between Queensway and Victoria Circus and Victoria Circus itself.  

The first phase of the project saw three junctions along Victoria Avenue improved and was completed in the Spring this year.   Later phases of the project will focus on improving the section of London Road (from College Way to Victoria Circus) in 2018/19, and then improving the Victoria Circus public area itself in 2019-2020.   Consultation and engagement on the two options is underway with local businesses and other affected stakeholders