Final approval for homes plan at Southend football ground

More than 500 new homes will be built at Southend United’s Roots Hall after planning officers gave plans the final seal of approval – but work will not be able to begin until the new stadium is built.

In October, Southend Council’s development control committee gave the go-ahead for the scheme to demolish Roots Hall, off Victoria Avenue, to make way for the homes, subject to delegated approval.

Planners have now rubber stamped the proposals, and it is hoped this will kickstart construction of the new Blues Stadium at Fossetts Farm, in Eastern Avenue.

Work on the 502 homes at Roots Hall, including the demolition of the stadium, will not start until the new Blues Stadium is built, with developers and the club still unable to provide a timeline for the development.

A host of stringent environmental stipulations have been included in approval of the Roots Hall homes.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “The planners only put conditions on that are enforceable by law.

“Everything we do nowadays has to focus a lot on the environment and water consumption is a big consideration.

“With big complexes like this, car use is also a big issue.

“We are firming up on green elements in major developments like this where car use is heavy and energy use is heavy. Whatever is available for us to do we want to do to protect the environment.”

Developers of the nine blocks of homes must ensure “residential dwellings in each building must comply to the limit of internal water consumption of 105 litres per person per day”.

They must also sign an agreement with a car club operator for a ten-year period and provide two car club vehicles which allow users to book cars when they need them.

Developers will also have to pay £3,000 a year to monitor residents’ travel plans and travel plan co-ordinator will be appointed before the first residents move in.

The new homes will be up to eight storeys high but several two storey terraced houses will also be included, with 152 homes classed as affordable.

The ambitious development will come together over two phases. Phase one will include the construction of five buildings close to Victoria Avenue. This will be followed by phase two when the football stadium is demolished and the remaining buildings are constructed.

Fosssetts Farm

Demolition of the old Roots Hall stadium cannot begin until the long-awaited new 21,000 seater stadium at Fossetts Farm is under way.

Councillors and planning officers have stipulated Phase 1 of the new stadium must be completed before work can start clearing the Roots Hall site for 152 new homes.

This includes the new football pitch and the erection of the east, west and southern stands with seating to accommodate no less than 13,893 spectators.

Access to the new stadium, Supporters Way, must also be built.

Two corners of the stadium will accommodate 182 apartments. Blocks will range up to nine storeys high. A 107-bedroom hotel, and more than 1,000 homes are included in the Fossetts development.

A £30million Government loan could kickstart the project – however no deal is currently in place.

Homes England will potentially loan Roots Hall Limited, the firm behind the development, alongside Thames Plaza, the £30million sum.

Both firms name Blues chairman Ron Martin and his son Jack as directors, but Mr Martin stepped down from the company in March.

Roots Hall Limited will then lease the new stadium and training ground to the football club.


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter