Webinar to provide Southend residents with details of Local Plan

A webinar giving Southend residents the chance to learn about the borough’s new local plan is set to take place on Thursday.

The online event is being hosted in partnership with Southend Association of Voluntary Services to gauge public views on its plans for homes and jobs in the borough.

The council is being asked by Government to build 23,500 new homes over the next 20 years.

Controversially, green belt land north of Bournes Green Chase, is being looked at to take some of those homes.

Consultation on the new local plan will also include changes to daily lives following the impact of COVID-19 and taking climate change into account

Councils are looking at providing access to jobs and services within easy reach of people’s homes

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for Environment, Culture, Tourism & Planning, said: “I think this is realistic to a certain extent. We’ve broken the borough down to seven or eight neighourhoods, for instance Leigh consisting of West Leigh and Leigh wards and there are hubs within those areas like Leigh’s Broadway and the same for other areas.

“It’s a way of making sure all possible services are within easy reach of the local population so they don’t have to go all the way into Southend. This will help the environment by cutting down on car journeys.”

Ms Mulroney added: “We are creating areas connected with each other but with their own identity. In terms of shops Leigh would be self-sufficient. It’s also about having services locally with access to hubs for civic things so people don’t need to trek to Southend Civic Centre. It’s about local employment and local services.”

Organisers of the consultation event said: “The local plan must take account of the impacts of COVID-19 on how we will live and work in the future. Different working, shopping and travel patterns will require a more flexible approach to land use in town and local centres to support local businesses and provide new homes within accessible locations.

Climate change is affecting all our lives and the local plan must address how the impact of new development on the environment can be minimised while providing for local needs, for homes, jobs, schools and other community facilities.”

They added: “We are also placing a strong emphasis on the need for ‘complete neighbourhoods’, where people have easy access on foot or bike to all the local services they need day to day, to minimise the need to travel.”

To register for the free online event, which will take place between 2pm and 3pm on Thursday, go to Eventbrite and search Southend Local Plan.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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