This evening (September 8) Rochford District Council provided approval to enter into a contract with development partner gbpartnerships, to deliver the Council’s Asset Development Programme.
This is the latest key milestone in the delivery of a long-term regeneration programme that will boost the local economy and deliver enhancements in community facilities, while reducing future costs.
Leader of Rochford District Council, Cllr Simon Wootton, said:
“I am delighted to be working with the expertise of gbpartnerships, who bring a wealth of knowledge to this project, as well as a commitment to the community and local employment.
“The project will be a vital lifeline to the Rochford District as we move beyond this pandemic; providing a boost to our local economy through much-needed regeneration and local employment opportunities, as well as better community facilities for our residents to enjoy in the years to come.
This latest milestone follows a period of careful analysis of Council-owned buildings to ensure they are put to best use, and is now more important than ever as we seek to support our local businesses and residents through the recovery period and into a prosperous future.
The next steps will be to formally sign the contract, we will then be able to actively engage with our stakeholders, including local residents, businesses and community groups, as the various schemes come forward.”
An interactive website will be updated as the project develops, bringing to life the plans and supporting engagement activity with residents and stakeholders during the lifespan of the regeneration programme. The website will include details of a wide-ranging public engagement plan during which residents, community groups, businesses and other key stakeholders will have the opportunity to participate in both digital and public engagement sessions as designs evolve and as part of the pre-planning process.
Alastair Gourlay, Director, gbpartnerships Rochford Limited, commented:
“We are delighted to be working with Rochford District Council as their development partner and helping to deliver on the shared vision. Together, we will deliver a lasting legacy for the district and create sustainable change, whilst boosting local employment at a particularly critical time.”
The Council’s Asset Strategy 2018-2028 identified the six key sites to be reviewed and the Outline Business Case looked at various options to see how they could best meet the Council’s objectives.
The six sites to be developed as follows:
• Freight House, Rochford – the proposal is to refurbish and extend this heritage asset to give it a new lease of life. The current building will be transformed into a flexible space to be used as a both as a chamber for Council meetings, and as a community space. The extension would be used as more efficient offices for Council staff and partners.
• Mill Arts & Events Centre, Rayleigh – the proposal is to re-develop this site for residential use with flexible space, including space retained for Council and community uses.
• Civic Suite, Rayleigh – the proposal is to re-develop the whole of this site for commercial and/or residential use
• Numbers 3 – 15 South Street, Rochford, current Council offices - the proposal is to
re-develop for residential use
• Numbers 19 and 57 South Street, Rochford – the proposal is to re-develop these sites for residential purposes.
The cost to the Council of maintaining just two sites, rather than the six currently held, will reduce projected future running costs. It will reduce the amount of office space and associated running costs for the Council through the provision of modern, energy efficient buildings which require less repairs and maintenance.
The new buildings will also help deliver wider value for money for the Council through the creation of flexible, future-proofed spaces which can be adapted to accommodate any changes in future service provision to support changing customer needs and priorities.
Monies received by the Council from the proceeds of development are expected to fund a significant proportion of the cost of creating the new Council and community facilities.
A series of frequently asked questions can be found at www.rochford.gov.uk/assetsfaqs