Notorious Southend estate footbridge set to go

A bridge where a Southend teenager fell to his death is to be removed by the end of the year, it has been confirmed.

Dan Nelson, councillor responsible for economic growth and investment at Southend City Council announced at a full council meeting on Thursday that the Queensway footbridge, the scene of several tragedies including the death of 19-year-old Chris Nota in 2020, will be taken down as soon as possible.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Nelson said: “Cabinet has agreed the absolutely essential thing at the moment is to remove that bridge because there has been a number of terrible incidents involving that bridge.

“The bridge is closed but there is very much cross-party support to remove it. Officers have been given the go ahead to do the work on that imminently. We will be proceeding with that as soon as possible, we would hope by the end of the year.”

The removal of the bridge was part of preliminary work intended for the Better Queensway scheme which will see 1,170 new homes and a new road layout following the demolition of four tower blocks. The scheme stalled when Swan Housing, the council’s partner in the £575million scheme was taken over by Sanctuary Housing who recently informed the council it would not be proceeding with the scheme.

Cllr Nelson said: “The Queensway project is primarily a housing project over a road project so at the moment what we have done is agreed a way forward around the road and we are waiting for officers to come back to us with information around how we are going to deliver the first phase of housing, looking particularly at the Quantock area of the development.

“At the moment we are looking at how to fund it, whether to bring a partner in or whether we need to do it ourselves. There are a few options on the table.”

Cllr Nelson didn’t rule out a controversial plan to fill in the underpass.

He said: “The underpass is in a particularly bad state and will require a lot of repair. It doesn’t look like we will be filling it in at this moment but certainly any new road layout will involve a relief road, a free-flowing road from A to B through the site.

“We’re not going to be filling in the underpass at this moment because we don’t believe it is necessary at this moment but we will be looking at a road layout that will ensure there is an A to B connection.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter