Spatial strategy

The Local Plan must set out an overall strategy for the pattern, scale and quantity of development, and make sufficient provision for housing (including affordable housing), employment, retail, leisure and other commercial development, infrastructure and community facilities and conservation and enhancement of the natural, built and historic environment.

There is an important link between housing and economic performance. Getting the right housing offer, including affordable housing, is essential to attracting and retaining a skills base that will encourage inward investment and help address underlying economic causes of deprivation where this exists.

In relation to housing, Local Authorities must seek to meet its need in full where it is possible to do so when considering any legitimate and evidenced constraints to housing development in the area, such as environmental considerations and infrastructure capacity, which cannot be mitigated.

The Government has recently introduced a new standard methodology1 for calculating housing need. This represents a significant uplift on the number of houses that have been built in Southend in recent years. Only about a third of this rate was built each year between 2001-17, the majority of this development taking place on previously developed land within the existing built up area.

If we do not meet the Government housing target, either by ourselves or through South Essex Authorities working together, the Government will apply a ‘Housing Delivery Test’ that will make it harder to reject proposals that don’t comply with the local plan on matters such as poor design or loss of existing land uses. There is therefore a pressing need to look at how and where this need can be met.

1 National Planning Policy Framework 2018

Housing in Southend, and South Essex as a whole, has become less and less affordable in recent years. When compared to the national average, we have higher rates of overcrowding, enforced house sharing, homelessness. We have seen rising houses price, rising private rent rises but continue to have low local wages. This in part is due to not building enough housing in the area and a major issue facing the new Local Plan is how we can work towards providing a step-change in housing delivery in the future without detrimentally impacting on the character of the town and its environment.

Development within the existing built up area of Southend

Development within the existing built up area should and must continue to play a key role in delivering new homes and jobs in Southend and thereby ensuring the vitality and vibrancy of communities, bringing back into use empty homes and underused land and to assist regeneration.

However, early surveys undertaken as part of the preparation of the Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) indicate that Southend will not be able to continue to meet all of its housing need within its existing urban area or on land at the edge of the existing built up area of Southend. This means looking at other possible ways this can be achieved.

To see the sites surveyed please refer to the HELAA on the Council’s webpage

To determine whether more housing can be sustainably accommodated within the existing built up area of Southend we will prepare an Urban Living Study, building on the findings of the HELAA.

Edge of Settlement Strategic scale development (Garden Communities)

The Government is placing great emphasis on the Garden Communities approach to meeting housing needs through delivering strategic scale sustainable communities providing for new homes, jobs and infrastructure.

An important aspect of delivering new homes is the provision of supporting infrastructure. A potential advantage of looking to accommodate strategic scale development in a comprehensively planned way, such as by a new Garden Settlement, is that there is a better chance of securing the necessary infrastructure as well as ensuring the critical mass of employment and services to ensure communities thrive.

Given Southend’s tightly drawn administrative boundary any strategic scale development will likely have cross border implications with neighbouring authorities, such as Castle Point and Rochford. The South Essex Joint Strategic Plan will consider where strategic scale development sites may be located, which itself will be subject to consultation.

We have prepared a South East Essex Strategic Growth Locations Assessment, jointly with Castle Point and Rochford Councils, to understand whether there are areas that could accommodate development of a strategic scale around the urban area of Southend. Strategic scale has been broadly defined as being large enough to sustain supporting infrastructure such as local schools, shops and other services, as well as employment generating development and would comprise a minimum of 6,000 to 8,000 dwellings.

The South East Essex Strategic Growth Locations Assessment has identified one area around Southend (north of Fossetts Farm, Garon Park and Bournes Green Chase, incorporating land within both Southend Borough and Rochford District) that has the potential to accommodate strategic scale development and therefore warrants further investigation. This initial exploratory growth locations assessment work will form an initial stepping stone in examining the potential of the area as part of the preparation of the South Essex Joint Strategic Plan being progressed by the Association of South Essex Local Authorities. This work will include an assessment of infrastructure and transport impacts and an assessment of Green Belt.

The new Local Plan must by law plan to meet identified local housing and economic needs. This equates to 18,000 – 24,000 New Homes and 10,000 – 12,000 New Jobs over a 20 year period. We have identified 3 possible options on how this may be achieved and would like to hear your views on each.

We have set out in Figure 9 below the potential advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Option 1

All development provided within the existing built up area.

Characteristics

  • Significant increase in housing densities throughout the existing built up area of the Borough.
  • Tall buildings allowed in more locations.
  • Jobs growth focussed in existing town centres, airport and business estates.

Potential advantages

  • Existing Green Belt and greenfield land protected.
  • Development close to existing services.
  • Existing parks, woodland and coastline protected.

Potential disadvantages

  • Risks of overdevelopment affecting the amenities and character of established residential areas.
  • Limited opportunities/high costs of providing new services and facilities such as schools, health and community facilities.
  • Potential loss of employment land to housing development.
  • Potential detrimental impact on skyline and key views of tall buildings in more sensitive locations.
  • Potential oversupply of small flats.

Potential deliverability issues

  • Deliverability of full development needs not achieved
  • Could deliver 5,200 – 9,100 homes*
  • Urban Living Study to be undertaken to look at potential to increase housing densities across Southend.

Option 2

Most development provided within the existing built up area, focussed in specific locations such as the town centre, airport and main passenger corridors, with some development on the urban edges on green field and Green Belt land in Southend.

Characteristics

  • Increased densities focussed in specific locations such as town centres, airport, and main passenger transport corridors.
  • New tall buildings in specific locations such as town centres and seafront.
  • Some outward expansion of the existing urban area.
  • Job growth focussed in existing town centres, airport and business estates.

Potential advantages

  • Some improvements to highway accessibility to Southend.
  • Larger scale development likely to provide more affordable housing and support new services and facilities.
  • Retention of character and amenities of established residential areas.
  • Protection of key employment areas, with the redevelopment of some peripheral sites.
  • Existing parks, public gardens woodland and coastline protected.

Potential disadvantages

  • Loss of some Green Belt land.
  • Loss of some greenfield land outside Green Belt.
  • Loss of some agricultural land.

Potential deliverability issues

  • Deliverability of full development needs not achieved
  • Could deliver 10,000 – 13,800** homes (including around 4,750 on greenfield/ green belt land).
  • Urban Living Study to be undertaken to look at potential to increase housing densities in specific locations such as the town centre and main passenger transport corridors.

Option 3

Option 2 + working with neighbouring authorities to develop a comprehensive new settlement on Green Belt land. (Strategic scale development)

Characteristics

  • Significant outward expansion of existing urban area to create large new settlement.
  • Increased densities focussed in specific locations such as town centres, airport, and main passenger transport corridors.
  • New tall buildings in specific locations such as town centres and seafront.
  • Job growth focussed in existing town centres, airport, business estates and within new settlement.
  • Requires significant upgrade to the strategic transport network.

Potential advantages

  • Potential for significant improvements to existing highway accessibility provided as part of new settlement.
  • Major new services and facilities provided such as schools, health and community facilities.
  • A greater range of homes provided, such as family, affordable, older people housing.
  • Retention of character and amenities of established residential areas.
  • Protection of key employment areas and opportunity to provide additional employment within new settlement.
  • New settlement providing new parks and access to greenspace.
  • Existing parks, public gardens, woodland and coastline protected.

Potential disadvantages

  • Loss of significant areas of Green Belt land.
  • Loss of some greenfield land outside Green Belt.
  • Loss of some agricultural land.

Potential deliverability issues

  • Potential to deliver all development needs
  • As per Option 2 plus provision of new settlement located on Green Belt land potentially able to provide remaining development needs in full.
  • Urban Living Study to be undertaken to look at potential to increase housing densities in specific locations such as the town centre and main passenger transport corridors.
  • Need to work in partnership with adjoining Local Authorities to deliver new Garden Community (Strategic Scale Development).

* based on delivering all available housing sites in the urban area and continuing current levels of unexpected sites coming forward. (Housing Land Availability Assessment)

** based on delivering all available housing sites within the Borough and continuing current levels of unexpected sites coming forward (Housing Land Availability Assessment)

Spatial Strategy - Have your say

1.4

How should Southend develop in the future in seeking to deliver 18,000 – 24,000 new homes and 10,000 – 12,000 new jobs, please select from one of the options stating your reasoning.

Option 1

The consultation is currently closed

Option 2

The consultation is currently closed

Option 3

The consultation is currently closed

1.5

Please let us know if you believe there is another option on how Southend should develop in the future.

The consultation is currently closed