BBP Regeneration prepared an economic appraisal for the Better Queensway programme, including the regeneration of a housing estate with four outdated residential towers on the northern fringe of Southend town centre, commercial development to better integrate the nearby rail station with the rest of the town centre, and the culverting of a vehicular underpass to deliver a new park and reduce severance for pedestrians and cyclists. The client was committed to using the programme as an opportunity to maximise positive economic, social and wellbeing impacts across a much wider area, and we were invited to feed into the masterplanning process early on.
The economic appraisal went on to provide the basis for the Economic Case of a Local Growth Deal bid to the South East LEP, the outcome of which is still awaited.
This proved a challenging assignment: demand from end users and developers was weak, a number of third party property interests had to be acquired to enable comprehensive development to take place and there was a funding gap that need to be bridged to achieve viability. BBP helped the Council overcome a series of hurdles. We led the drafting of planning policies; helped secure over £7 million of funding support to acquire third party property interests; helped the Council secure a development partner and restructured arrangements following the withdrawal of an anchor supermarket. A revised retail-led scheme has been consented and a number of leading UK retailers and leisure operators identified as pre-lets. There is a real belief locally that this important building block can help Dover’s town centre recover and stimulate further investment in a town with an ambitious growth agenda.