Transformational programme for regeneration of Rochford District
A far-reaching programme designed to regenerate the Rochford District is to be progressed, after an outline business case was approved by Full Council.
Rochford District Council will now be seeking a development partner in order to rationalise and re-develop six of its strategic sites, with the aim of improving the local area and facilities for residents and businesses, transforming council accommodation and ensuring the financial resilience of the council in the future.
The transformational scheme is anticipated to deliver a reduction of future costs for the council in excess of £300,000 a year, as well as seeking to generate new revenue income streams.
The proposed development will involve the rejuvenation of a landmark building; the Freight House, in Rochford, to provide modern, more efficient offices for Council staff and partners, as well as a Chamber for Council meetings and an exciting community space.
There will also be a boost to Rayleigh, with the Mill Arts & Events Centre site to be re-developed with a suitable proportion of the ground floor retained as a ‘community hub’ for use by council, partners and the community.
In addition, the Civic Suite, in Rayleigh, where Council meetings are currently held, is to be re-developed for residential purposes or alternative use.
The programme earmarks the Council’s main offices in South Street, Rochford, to be re-developed for residential purposes or alternative use and numbers 19 and 57, South Street, re-developed for residential purposes to help meet the local housing need.
The Council has worked closely with technical experts to draw up an Outline Business Case for the programme, and undertaken a robust analysis to identify the preferred programme of works. The resulting scheme will be more cost-efficient than continuing to operate the existing buildings in their current form, due to their age and the need for significant investment to maintain them in future. Based on outline plans it is anticipated that the project will be completed by 2023.
Members of the public and stakeholders will be engaged with throughout the process. All facilities within the programme remain open at this time and both the Freight House and The Mill Arts and Events Centre continue to take bookings.
Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Enterprise, Cllr George Ioannou, said: “This is a far-reaching programme which will seek to regenerate the Rochford District area, as well as ensuring that council accommodation is fit for purpose in the future.
“It is important to ensure the council is maximising the value we get from our assets, in order that we can continue to provide a high quality service for generations to come.
“This rationalisation and re-development of our strategic sites is anticipated to deliver a £300,000 a year reduction in future costs, as well as providing exciting opportunities to improve the local area for the benefit of residents and businesses.”