Post-War Development

Sea of Change Southend-on-Sea

INTRODUCTION. 1. Constitution of Committee. 2.Terms of Reference. 3. Former Report. 4. Matters for consideration. 9. Preparatory action. 10. Future policy generally. 11. Long term policy. 13. Residents’ needs. 16. Visitors’ needs. 17. Varied phases of development. I. PLANNING OF THE SEA-FRONT. 18. Planning of the sea-front. 19. Policy recommended for adoptions. 21. Survey of existing conditions. 23. Access to sea-front. 24. Characteristics of defined areas. 26. Existing schemes. 28. Features which should be eliminated. 30. Harbour scheme. 31. Car parking provision. 32. Recommendation 1. II. THE COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS CENTRES. 33. Factors to be regarded. 34. Classification of activities. 35. Areas of smaller shops. 36. Areas of larger shops and offices. 37. Areas of industries. 38. Main business axis. 42. Future of Victoria Avenue. 43. Extent of shopping development. 44. Westcliff main shopping area. 45. Leigh main shopping area. 47. General policy in commercial development. 49. Relation of improvements to communications. 50. Examples. 51. Principles governing proposals. 52. Recommendation 2. III. COMMUNICATIONS. (1) Access By Road. 54. Main road access. 57. Cross roads. (2) Access By Rail. 61. Rail access. 62. L.M.S. Railway. 68. Local improvements. 69. L.N.E. Railway.
72. Suggested loop line. 73. Local improvements. (3) Local Transport Facilities. 74. Public Transport. 75. Central omnibus station. 77. Car parks. 78. Recommendation 3. IV. BUILDING AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING OF THE POPULATION. 80. Noticeable features. (a) Character of Town’s Development. (b) Deterioration of residential districts. 81. Possible action. 83. Land and Housing Development. 84. Development in Groups. 88. Thorpe Bay and Shoebury. 90. Southchurch. 92. Prittlewell. 93. Eastwood. 94. Open Spaces. 95. Powers. 96. Industrial Development. 100. Housing. 101. Recommendation 4. V. SCHEMES OF DEVELOPMENT. (1) General Considerations. 103. Review of Town Planning Schemes. 104. Co-operation with adjoining Authorities. 105. Standard of Planning. (2) Representations of Local Organisation. 106. Representations submitted. 110. Town Hall Site. 112. Site of Entertainments Pavilion. 113. Other Proposals: (a) Municipal Aerodrome. (b) Rampart Terrace Shoebury. (c) Seaplane base. 114. Recommendation 5. VI. EXECUTION OF SCHEMES AND URGENT WORKS. 115. Factors governing execution. 116. Orders of priority. 117. Other works. 118. Education Facilities. 119. Preparatory action during War. 120. Recommendation 6.
1944 The Miles Report
Southend-on-Sea
COUNTY BOROUGH OF SOUTHEND-ON-SEA. REPORT of the SPECIAL COMMITTEE appointed to consider the subject of POST-WAR DEVELOPMENT.
To the Members of the Council. INTRODUCTION. Constitution of Committee. 1.The committee were constituted in July 1942 and then comprised the following Members:- The Mayor (Alderman Wm. Miles, O.B.E., J.P.) The Deputy Mayor (Alderman White). Alderman Hockley, Sullivan and Tyler. Councillors Clough, Court, Mrs. Harvey, Jones, Longman, Selby and Williams. Councillor Tattersall was elected in February, 1943, to succeed Councillor Court on his retirement from the Council. Terms of Reference. 2.The Committee were appointed “for the purpose of drawing up a comprehensive plan for the Post-War Development of the County Borough as a residential, health and holiday resort, also having in mind the need for light industrial undertakings.” Former Report. 3.In December, 1942, the Committee submitted a Preliminary Report in which they stated that they had appointed His Worship the Mayor as their Chairman and had invited certain local Bodies to submit such proposals as they might think proper to make for the Committee’s consideration, and, further, that they had communicated with the L.M.S. and L. & N.E. Railway Companies with the object of ascertaining what plans they were considering to meet Post-war conditions. 4.Since that date the Committee have given very careful consideration to the many aspects of the question referred to them, and they are now in a position to submit this Report which embodies the conclusions at which they have arrived and their recommendations. 5.In the task which has engaged their attention the Committee have been greatly helped by a series of Reports submitted to them by the Borough Engineer. 6.It will be understood that considerations beyond the Council’s control, such as the probability of some reform of Local Government, involving the possible modification of the Council’s powers and the extension of the Borough; the as yet unknown intentions of the Government to control the location of industry and the distribution of population; the establishment of a Regional Office of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning now actively considering, amongst other things, the development of this part of the coast; and the possibility of far-reaching changes in communications which might make Southend an important centre of long distance sea or aerial transport, may substantially modify the future character of the town as it can at present be conceived. 7.While conscious of this possibility the Committee have considered the Council’s reference in the light of circumstances as they now exist though they have, of course, borne in mind such developments as might be normally anticipated. 8.Consideration of the question of Post-war development in relation to the Borough involves the examination, amongst others, of the following matters :- (1)The action which should be taken, so far as practicable even during the War, to ensure that when hostilities cease the amenities of the town and the normal activities of the Council may be resumed as soon as circumstances permit. More properly falling within the terms of reference. (2)The general policy to be followed in the development of the Borough after the war. (3)In the light of that policy, the review of existing schemes, both those emanating from official sources and those proposed by outside Bodies, to ensure conformity to such policy. (4)The priority to be accorded to the schemes, where approved by the Council, so far as financial and other relevant considerations permit of their execution. Preparatory action 9.The taking of the preparatory action referred to in the first part of the preceding paragraph is, of course, a matter for each of the Council’s Committees in the discharge of there normal functions. But the Committee have thought it proper to indicate later particular subjects which will need consideration. Future policy generally. 10.With respect to future policy the Committee understand the Council to intend that the expression ”post-war development” shall be interpreted as covering the development of the Borough over relatively long period of years, as well as development reasonably to be looked for during the years which will more immediately follow the cessation of hostilities. The Committee have accordingly considered both the long term policy which they think the Council should pursue and also short term policy to which it is hoped it may be practicable to give effect without undue delay. The former naturally calls for the expression of governing principles to be followed - the designing of the framework rather than of the details which are to be filled in later - while the latter admits of more particularisation and of the specification now of some of the works which could be carried out and steps which might be taken in harmony with those principles. Long term policy. 11.Determination of the long term policy, as stated, calls for consideration of the general lines of development to be followed and of the objects which that development should be the design to achieve. The Committee are clearly of opinion – (i)That every effort should be made to attract and retain residents, both those whose occupations require or permit them to live in the Borough and those who have entire freedom of choice; similarly (ii)That period visitors, whose interests are in not a few respects like those of residents and who, in many cases, subsequently become residents, should be encouraged in every way: also (iii)That there should be no slackening of effort to attract day and short term visitors who are a source of livelihood to many townspeople; and (iv)That light industrial development in suitable areas should be encouraged. 12.If this view is shared by the council, as the Committee have no doubt it will be, the plan for the future development of the Borough should be such as to give practical effect to that policy. Residents’ needs. 13.The needs of residents require, of course, the provision, amongst other things, of adequate highways, health and sanitary services, education facilities, transport, housing accommodation and facilities for recreation and shopping. All these matters accordingly need to be reviewed in planning for the future and though the actual provisions of these things is the concern of the appropriate Committees of the Council they have necessarily formed the subject of the Committee’s consideration. 14.The Particular needs of those residents whose likelihood is derived form catering for visitors themselves, and call especially for consideration of such matters as constitute amenities and attractions to encourage visitors. 15.The needs of another class of residents will be met it effect is given to the policy specified in paragraph II relating to the extension of industrial undertakings affording means of employment. Visitors’ needs. 16.The interest of visitors, whether period or day or short term, to a seaside town lie principally on or near to the sea-front and the distinctive interest of each type of visitor can, in the Committee’s opinion, be effectively served in Southend, in view of the extent and diversity of the character of the development of the Front. Varied phases of of development. 17.The Committee have accordingly endeavoured to deal with these varied phases of post-war development either specifically or generally in this report. I. Planning of the Sea-front. 18.The planning for the future of the sea-front is one of the most important features of development, affecting, as it does to all classes, and the Committee have accordingly given it priority of place. The nature of the plan will be determined largely by the decision at which the Council may arrive on the policy to be adopted in such planning. Policy recommended for adoption. 19.That policy should, in the Committee’s view, be to correlate the amenities offered to the public, whether resident or visiting, in such a way as to cater for each class without detriment to the others. It is not the Committee’s intention to suggest that there should be any segregation of the different classes – residents, period visitors and day visitors – but the same conditions and amenities do not appeal to all types alike and the Committee consider that in developing the extensive seafront of the Borough, while there can be no question of excluding any type from section, amenities which make a special appeal to a particular class should be localised in areas to which that class may be expected to resort. Thus in this sections of the sea-front adjoining areas which are essentially residential in character or which cater primarily for visitors, as the case may be, the conditions or amenities sought to be provided should, in the Committee’s view, be appropriate to those sections and conductive to the preservation of their particular characteristics. The Committee recognise that in order to give affect to this view some modification of schemes already discussed or decided upon may be necessary. 20.With these considerations in mind, the Committee have reviewed the whole of the sea-front in relation to the development of land north of it. Survey of existing conditions. 21.Existing conditions, briefly described below, determine practically the development of the sea-front on lines in conformity with the policy described in paragraph 19 though, as indicated in that paragraph, some modification of existing schemes may be necessary. 22.Excluding the War Department land east of Shoebury Common, the sea-front is divided into several fairly well defined lengths, each merging into the next, each with its own character and each complicated by the intrusion of some element at variance with the remainder. These divisions are as follows:- a.Ness Road to Warwick Road (1.36 miles). Roughly the frontage of the Burgess Estate; an area used chiefly by residents and to some extent by period visitors who enjoy the beach without the assistance of amusement caterers. At the eastern end there is, however, Shoebury Common, a commercial attraction for day visitors and, near the Western end, Thorpe Hall Avenue, a principal access from the main through road. b.Warwick Road to a point just west of the Pier. (1.42 miles). In this length the character changes to that of an are catering for short term and day visitors whose needs demand inexpensive meals and refreshments, cheap lodgings and abundant amusements. It is, of course, towards the western end, essentially the area frequented by and attractive to the day visitor with the Kursaal and the Pier. Yet, at its centre, is the Gas Works, one of the largest industrial undertakings, with its own loading jetty and the Corporation’s loading pier alongside, and, at its western end, the Palace Hotel, a high class social centre largely used by residents, though superimposed upon an area overwhelmingly devoted to day visitors. c.West of the Pier to Crowstone Avenue (1.40 miles). The change in character of this length from that last described is abrupt. The area is one of gardens primarily affording enjoyment to residents and period visitors, with a fairly continuous range of hotels and boarding houses to the north. Yet here again are intrusions, viz., the Esplanade Restaurant near the eastern end, the existence of which breaks the otherwise impressive continuity of the cliff gardens, woods and shrubberies; the swimming bath, a commercial attraction for residents and period and day visitors alike, although not easy of access; and the shops and small cafes near Shorefields and at Palmeira Parade, which again destroy the continuity of the area to its detriment. d.Crowstone Avenue to Chalkwell Station (0.45 miles). This is predominantly residential in character, though there are amusement caterers near Chalkwell Station, the only point on the sea-front where there is immediate access from the railway. e.Chalkwell Station to Bell Wharf (0.82 miles). Except for a footpath no through way exists from east to west along this section, and the land is cut off from the sea-front by the railway except for access by footbridge. The land north of the railway is throughout mainly residential and in the middle of this length there is a bathing station. f.Bell Wharf to Leigh Station (0.51 miles). Here the character is that of the local industries of fishing and boat building though there is an element of catering for day visitors. g.West of Leigh Station to the Borough boundary (0.72 miles). Along this length there is virtually no sea-front but the marshes present immense possibilities of development. The land to the north is almost exclusively residential. Access to Sea-front. 23.The access from the north to the seafront is very limited, being practically restricted to Ness Road, Thorpe Hall Avenue and Lifstan Way in the east, Southchurch Avenue and Pier Hill in the centre and Chalkwell Avenue and Belton Way in the west. Lengthwise, communication is continuous from Ness Road to Chalkwell Station where it comes to an abrupt stop but Belton Way, at Leigh Station, provides an admirable exit for any future extension of the front from Chalkwell to Leigh. Characteristics of defined areas. 24.The foregoing analysis of conditions now existing along the sea-front indicates that, broadly there are four substantial areas possessing more or less definite characteristics, viz. : (1)The Eastern portion, Thorpe bay, in course of development on un-commercialised and natural lines. (2)The East Centre, Marine Parade, commercialised and intense. (3)The West Centre Westcliff and Chalkwell, well and skilfully developed. (4)The Western portion, Leigh, completely undeveloped but ripe for development. 25.The Committee are of opinion that, in the case of each of the first three areas mentioned in the preceding paragraph, advantage is to be gained by retaining its present character and promoting it by improving all features in harmony and excluding features or proposals at variance. The Committee views with regard to the development of the fourth area mentioned are explained later in paragraph 29 of this report. Existing Schemes. 26.To illustrate what the Committee have in mind reference may be made to existing schemes of the front improvement which have already reached some definite stage. 27.Affecting the Eastern portion of the sea-front there are: (1)The scheme, already approved and partially carried out, for the extension of Victoria Road southwards to Eastern Esplanade the object of which was to provide additional much needed access from Southend East Station to the “commercialised” section of the front. Its completion would not be at variance with the character of that section. (2)Schemes for the reconstruction of Marine Parade from Pier Hill to the Kursaal to Thorpe Hall Avenue; and of the Pier Entrance and Pier Hill. Preliminary work only had been done on these schemes prior to the War, but it will be generally agreed that major proposals of this description are needed and they should and can be carried out in harmony with the prevailing characteristics of the areas. The Committee consider that it may well be that the best situation for a large swimming pool of the nature of that formerly designed for construction on the Chalkwell Esplanade at Westcliff, will be found in conjunction with an extensive scheme for the reconstruction of the front in the neighbourhood of the Pier. The Marine Parade itself is the real centre of the holiday trade with the two greatest single attractions for the day visitor, at one end the Pier and the other the Kursaal, with a wide spacious road but faced on the north with a concentration of indiscriminate development. This calls for drastic treatment, which, if it cannot be undertaken by the owners, should be undertaken by the Corporation themselves. To a less extent the same is true of the Eastern Esplanade. 28.Schemes affecting the West centre, Westcliff and Chalkwell are:- (1)The Entertainments Pavilion at Shorefields, partly constructed at the outbreak of War. The completion and use of this building will not conflict with the character of the area but it will clearly be necessary for an extensive addition to be made to the site in order to provide adequate car parking accommodation. (2)The Westcliff Swimming Pool at the foot of Shorefields Road. This elaborate scheme estimated in 1937 to cost £115,000 was approved by the Council and in principle by the Ministry of Health, but its execution was deferred. The pool was designed to provide accommodation for a very large number of bathers and for 2,500 spectators, and parking accommodation for £600 cars, and if constructed in the position proposed it would conflict, both in itself and in the demands which would inevitably follow in its train, with the policy enunciated in paragraph 19 of this Report as that which should be pursued for this section of the sea-front. For that reason the Committee are in the opinion that in any plan for the development of this section of the front a Swimming Pool of the nature described should be eliminated. They do not suggest that no facilities for swimming should be provided in this area but propose that a swimming bath of a different character from that formerly contemplated should be substituted. (3)The proposals for the reconstruction of the Esplanade from west of the pier to Shorefields, from Shorefields to the western end of the Leas, and from the Leas to Chalkwell Station. The second of these schemes which was prepared prior to the War involves highway work only and does not affect development. Preliminary work only has been done in connection with proposals for the other two sections mentioned but each also involves only highway improvement. None of these schemes conflicts with the policy which the Committee recommend should be adopted but, as with any scheme for the reconstruction and development of the Westcliff section of the front, most careful regard should be had to the preservation of its unity as one of the most important amenities of the town, and the reconstruction of the Western Esplanade should not be proceeded with until the use of the central areas, now shrubbery, has been determined. Features which should be eliminated. In this section of the sea-front there are certain features which the Committee regard as intrusions upon an otherwise continuous and remarkably beautiful line of cliff gardens which the Committee consider should be rigidly protected. They refer to the licensed house known as the Esplanade Restaurant, of which the Corporation are the freeholders; to the shops at Palmeira Parade, which are the Corporation’s property and to the shops lying south of the site of the Entertainments Pavilion. The Committee are strongly of an opinion that steps should be taken as soon as opportunity offers to remove these features which are out of harmony with their surroundings and with the policy of development which the Committee advocate. 29.Existing schemes affecting the Western, or Leigh portion of the sea-front are :- (1) The extensive scheme for the reclamation of a large area of the foreshore between Chalkwell Station and Bell Wharf, its lay-out and the construction of a through road westwards in continuation of the Chalkwell Esplanade. This scheme was approved generally by the Council in 1938 but, so far, it has not been further proceeded with. (2) Schemes, in draft only, for the reconstruction of Leigh High Street and the development of Leigh Marshes. The committee are of the opinion that these proposals should be re-examined together, extended, particularly in regard to Leigh Marshes, and made complimentary. The provision of a continuous Esplanade is no doubt essential but the Committee recognise that it has its inevitable dangers to development. It is not unlikely that in future an even larger proportion than formerly of visitors to Southend will come by car or coach, and a continuous Esplanade tends to spread lengthwise a demand for accommodation both for their vehicles and themselves and for their refreshment and amusement, with the resulting merger of types of demand. The potentialities of the Leigh area are, however, great, and if properly directed , should materially increase the prosperity of the town. It is not probable, in the Committees view, that these potentialities can in the future be allowed to remain latent. The proximity of Leigh Station will no doubt be an inducement to visitors to frequent the Marshes when laid out, and it may be that a close examination of the proposals for the Leigh area might prompt the Council to modify them in some respects, particularly with a view to providing in the area of the Marshes an attractive and valuable recreational lay-out. Such a scheme, the Committee consider, would not likely to affect detrimentally the amenities of the residential property to the north of the railway, which is far enough removed from the area, but it might materially affect in some respects the Old Town and its immediate neighbourhood, and for that reason the Committee consider, as has been said above, that the schemes for the whole of Leigh area should be re-examined together. In any proposals affecting the Old Town provisions would, of course, be made for the retention and development of its fishing and boat building industries, and its special local character. Harbour scheme. 30.The Committee have made no previous reference to the scheme for the provision of a Harbour near the Pier Head, which had reached and advanced stage prior to the War, because it does not directly affect the development of the sea-front, but it is one which the Council may well decide to adopt and carry out as soon as financial considerations and more pressing demands permit, in view of the fact that its provision would be likely to encourage a type of resident and visitor which, in the Committee’s view, it is in the town’s interest to encourage. Car parking provision. 31.Nor have the Committee particularly mentioned the necessity which will be urgently felt when the War is over for adequate car parking accommodation. It is obvious, however, that this is a matter which must receive serious consideration in relation to any scheme for the development of the sea-front. In the east the utilisation of part of Shoebury Common for the purpose, together with considerable development of the use of Lifstan Car Park, may help to solve the problem; in the marine Parade area it may be met by provision in an extensive scheme for the reconstruction of that area and of the entrance to the Pier, in conjunction with the the laying out and bringing into use of the large area of land adjoining Seaway purchased by the Council shortly before the War for this purpose; at Westcliff, Shorefields is the focal point, and it is here that conditions permit of provision being made if land is acquired; further west, at Chalkwell and Leigh, the problem will presumably be more easily capable of solution by the inclusion of accommodation in the schemes which have still to be finally decided upon. Recommendation 1. 32.Summing up the conclusions which the committee have reached with regard to matters already discussed in this report, the Committee recommend that the Council give their approval generally to the policy outlined in the foregoing paragraphs and particularly to the policy enunciated in paragraphs 11, 19, 25 and 29. II. THE COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS CENTRES. Factors to be regarded. 33.The Committee deal next with the future development of the commercial and business centres of the Borough, and in considering this question it is important that a number of factors, which are liable to be overlooked, should be given full weight. In the first place the situation, size and quality of the business centres are, to a considerable degree, dependent upon access, both local, for the needs of residents and visitors in the town, and external, for the convenience of persons coming into the town for business reasons. Accordingly this part of the Committee’s report is to be read in conjunction with that which follows, dealing with communications. Secondly, a large proportion of the business of the town lies in catering for visitors and will continue to do so. The sea-front, already considered, is there to be regarded as one of the most important centres of business. Thirdly, as the purpose of this report is mainly to suggest the lines on which the town and its neighbourhood should be developed in the years after the War and the goal of that development, regard should be had to what exists at present or to what may be immediately expedient in the nearest future only in so far as it concerns the adaptation of the present to the long term plan, and it is necessary to visualise the conditions which will have to be faced and the needs to be met when possibly the pre-war population may be doubled and the area greatly extended. Consequently it may be found that the location of the main business areas should be entirely changed. There are, of course, other factors affecting individual aspects of the question, some of which are mentioned later as they become relevant. Classification of Activities. 34.For the purpose of analysing present conditions it is convenient to consider the commercial and business activities of the Borough as falling into four general classes (1) the smaller shops, catering chiefly for a strictly local public, which may be styled “suburban” (2) the larger shops, generally located in the main shopping centres and catering for the public from a much wider area, which may be styled “metropolitan” (3) “offices” accommodating professional men, Banks, Insurance Companies, Government and Corporation Departments, etc., and (4) “industries” covering manufacturing, transport, wholesale and warehousing firms. These definitions are not rigid, are not intended to be exhaustive, and are adopted merely to simplify analysis. Areas of smaller shops. 35.The smaller or “suburban” shops are most prominent in the line of them which stretches, almost without a break, on both sides of London Road and Southchurch Road from the Borough boundary in the west to Hamstel Road in the east. Thus, exactly five miles of main approach road are given over to piecemeal adaptation of existing property without any regard to architectural harmony. In a few instances only, such as the block opposite to Hamlet Court Road Schools and the unfinished block of corporation property between North Road and Brighten Road, is there any evidence of a scheme of development. That urban main roads which are also suburban shopping thoroughfares can be so developed as to secure architectural unity is well shown in some of the newer London suburbs. There are, of course, other areas of smaller shops,e.g. Leigh Road, Station Road, Westcliff, West Road, part of Fairfax Drive, Sutton Road and detached sites at Thorpe Bay and Shoebury. Areas of larger shops and offices. 36.The areas of the larger or “Metropolitan” shops and “offices” may broadly be grouped into the central part of the town, having as its main axis the High Street and the southern end of Victoria Avenue and extending laterally for comparatively short distances east and west along Southchurch Road and London Road, and the two outlying districts of Leigh Broadway and Hamlet Court Road. In the central area the shops occupy the southern portion and Victoria Avenue itself shows a strong tendency to develop as offices, due no doubt to the choice of a central position in the Avenue as the proposed Town Hall site. Areas of Industries. 37.The “industries” again, are found generally to lie in a northward extension of the larger shopping area, along the line of the L.N.E.R. as far north as the factory of E. K. Cole Ltd, and the sewage Disposal Works at Prittlewell, though there are, of course many exceptions. Main business axis. 38.It may fairly be said that the main “metropolitan” shops, the “offices and a number of “industries” form a more or less solid area, extending from the top of Pier Hill in the south, along High Street, Victoria Avenue and the L.N.E.R. almost to the Borough boundary in the north, and even beyond if the Municipal Aerodrome is included. Indeed, it appears that the backbone of the town, so far as commercial interests are concerned, lies practically north and south across its centre, instead of east and west as commonly believed. 39.There would seem to be several reasons for this. First, that these commercial areas lie in the two old inhabited centres of Prittlewell and Southend itself, linked by the proximity of the L.N.E.R. and particularly the goods stations alongside it. Victoria Avenue is a much more recently constructed road and, notwithstanding the gradual conversion to business at the south end, still retains its residential appearance and, to some extent, its residential character. 40.Secondly, as Southend is residential and holiday town on the coast, the waterfront has been developed residentially and not industrially as in industrial towns, and this east-to-west residential development has been accentuated by the existence of the L.M.S. Railway parallel to the coast. 41.Thirdly, the site of the main shopping area is obviously determined by the line of the High Street, connecting the two principal railway stations and the sea-front. Future of Victoria Avenue. 42.The tendency, as shown, to a north-and-south business development is too strong to be disregarded and Victoria Avenue is the obvious axis for this development. The conversion, already begun, will be hastened if the Town Hall is erected as proposed and it will be hastened, too, after the War by the completion to full traffic capacity of the Arterial Road as the main access by road from London, and by the extension of Victoria Avenue directly northwards to Rochford, the River Crouch, Maldon and Colchester. As the first adequate through road southward to the sea-front from the Arterial Road , the only direct main road from the Arterial Road to the centre of the town, and the only direct exit from the town to the north, its conversion to business is, in the Committee’s view, inevitable and should be accepted and recognised, though the area near to the Town Hall site will need to be safeguarded. Extent of shopping development. 43.Having reached this conclusion, the Committee have considered how far along Victoria Avenue to the north business development should be permitted to extend. Fortunately there is an obvious boundary at the Prittle Brook; beyond this are Priory Park on the east and good residential property on the west, and although industries begin again along the L.N.E.R. north of Priory Park, the break effected by the Park and the Victory and Jones Memorial Recreation Grounds is to be welcomed as preventing in this direction a repetition of the dreary unending shops which disfigure London Road. Westcliff. Main Shopping area. 44.Of the two outlying areas of the larger or “metropolitan” shops, referred to in paragraph 36, Hamlet Court Road at Westcliff, sharply cut off by London Road in the north and Westcliff Station in the south and narrowly restricted east and west, is an example of the principle of concentration of facilities, of whatever kind, into local groups well distributed, which the Committee, as appears later, advocate as most desirable. In recent years, no doubt, the status of this centre has shown some tendency to decline slightly but the re-growth of the Borough after the War, if assisted so far as possible by the neighbourhood and of the deterioration in the aged by some highway improvements, should not only arrest this decline but reverse it. Leigh. Main shopping area. 45.At Leigh, similarly the major concentration of shopping facilities in the Broadway, Broadway West and Rectory Grove, around the old local centre of Leigh, is to be welcomed and encouraged. 46.In the east, at Southchurch, Thorpe Bay and Shoebury, by contrast, there is no larger shopping area comparable with Hamlet Court Road or Leigh Broadway; possibly in Southchurch because of the different standard of residential development; in Thorpe Bay because of the relative newness of the area; and in Shoebury because of the specialised character of the district, over shadowed by the Military establishments there. But both at Thorpe Bay and Shoebury there are some definite concentration of the “smaller shops” and whether the status of such an area alters or not with the growth of the district such concentration is, the Committee consider, desirable in the interest of the district as a whole. General policy in commercial development. 47.It will be realised from what has been stated that the Committee consider that the general policy to be followed by the Council in the future in relation to the commercial and business development of the town should be that of local concentration into groups and distribution of those groups, as opposed to uniform dispersal, and that that policy should apply not only to the larger business areas which have been already defined but also to the smaller shopping areas to which it is impossible to refer in detail in this report. 48.It may be possible generally to give effect to this policy only gradually in areas already developed, by the exercise of such powers as may be possessed by the Council under Town Planning Acts or Schemes for the time being in force, or particular in conjunction with improvement schemes undertaken by the Council themselves from time to time, unless, of course, Parliament decides to invest Local Authorities with powers especially designed to regulate and restrict the establishment or reopening of businesses, possibly on the lines of the Location of Retail Businesses Order, 1942, itself a Wartime measure. Notwithstanding the fact that only a gradual pursuit of this policy may be practicable, the Committee think it would be in the general interest that the policy should be followed so that in the course of time the desired results would be achieved. Relation of improvements to communications. 49.The major kind of improvement and re-development of business centres is frequently associated with the question of communications and the need for improved communications may well provide the opportunity in Southend, and should be made the occasion, for the Corporation to effect extensive alterations which are urgently required. Examples. 50.As the examples of the more pressing improvements needed locally the Committee may instance (1) The widening of London Road between West Road and Milton Road. A standard width of 80 feet has already been proposed for this length under the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act 1935 and an early opportunity should be taken to effect this widening by acquiring the necessary property, together with sufficient adjacent property to make re-development on a larger scale economically possible. (2) The widening of the middle section of Victoria Avenue, roughly between East Street in the north and Carnarvon Road in the south, should in the same way shortly follow, particularly with the spread of business development northward from Victoria Circus and in view of the consideration outlined in preceding paragraphs of this report. For reasons more fully explained later the Committee are strongly of opinion that the site in Victoria Avenue acquired for the purposes of the Town Hall, Police Buildings and Courts and Public Offices should be retained and utilised as such, and they are of opinion that the acquisition by the Corporation of the west frontage to Victoria Avenue opposite to the Town Hall site, rejected by the Council before the War, Should be re- examined not for public use but to ensure its wise and economical redevelopment for suitable business purposes. (3)For the length of Southchurch Road between Victoria Circus and Southchurch Avenue a standard width of 80 feet has been proposed, and a widening and redevelopment of this area is overdue and should be undertaken as soon as circumstances permit. (4)In any proposal to improve traffic conditions and business facilities in the High Street itself, the major difficulty encountered arises from the presence of the L.M.S. Railway Bridge and of important and relatively recent buildings on both sides of the street, thus effectively limiting the width and fixing the line of the street. The Committee do not think that it is feasible at present to offer a solution of the problem, nor that a solution will be found without much careful consideration. A possible line of enquiry would be to treat the High Street in two parts, divided by the railway bridge; the northern part being redeveloped in one scheme with Southchurch Road , just referred to, and Victoria Circus mentioned in the next paragraph, and the southern part in one scheme, stretching east to the line of Grove Road and west to include the area which would be liberated by the removal to Victoria Avenue of the Police Buildings and Municipal Offices, the whole being linked up with the redevelopment of Pier Hill and the Pier Entrance, referred to in the early part of this report , the possibility of a reconstruction of the L.M.S. Railway Station, to link the two schemes together, not being excluded. (5)The most obvious area for redevelopment appears to the Committee to be that to the north east of Victoria Circus, extending along Southchurch Road to the east side of Milton Street and possibly further. In this block are some substantial businesses but the greater part of the area, in the very heart of the town, is occupied by unworthy adaptations of old property used for relatively unimportant purposes. The function of Victoria Circus as a traffic centre alone demands, in the Committee’s view, the early redevelopment of this area on a scale which would enable those substantial businesses which it is in the interests of the community to retain to remain in improved premises and which would free the remainder of the area for equally profitable and desirable purposes. Principle governing proposals. 51.As the Committee have sought to indicate in the preceding paragraphs, there are two principles which the consider should be followed in relation to the commercial and business centres. The first is that in considering widespread development of the kind typical of Southend and effort should be made to divide the whole area into smaller communities or districts, each equipped with facilities for meeting its local needs, whether of business, entertainment or culture. The second is that where business redevelopment is needed because of changed conditions, it should be on the largest scale so as to secure for the community as a whole the increased value which those changed conditions have created. Recommendation 2. 52.Summing up their conclusions in regard to the matters dealt with in this section of the report, the Committee recommend that the Council give their approval generally to the policy outlined in the foregoing paragraphs of this section and particularly to the policy enunciated in paragraphs 42, 43, 47, 48 and 51. III. COMMUNICATIONS. 53.Under this heading the Committee think it desirable to review the main means of access to the town by road and rail; the internal and district road traffic, and local transport facilities, and to offer some observations as to future action. Main Road Access. (1)Access by Road. 54.In this district as a whole, there are virtually only two main roads, the London Road from Thameside, which has no near tributaries except a cross connection with the Arterial Road from Benfleet to Rayleigh, and the Arterial Road which, at Rayleigh, gathers to itself the subsidiary main roads from Billericay and from Chelmsford. These two main roads, on reaching the western boundary of the Borough, continue to run parallel with each other, a little more than a mile apart, as far as Southchurch, and they will eventually converge at Bournes Green and continue as one road to Shoeburyness. 55.In Southend itself, there is one other west-to-east main road of importance, namely the sea-front, which while now incomplete at the western end, at Leigh, will, if completed in accordance with the Committee’s proposals for development of the Leigh foreshore and marshes, already outlined, form the main part of a continuous road leaving the London Road near the western boundary, and running throughout the sea-front to rejoin the main road at Shoebury. 56.The remaining major road in Southend consists of the High Street, Victoria Avenue and Manners Way. The importance of this road has already been referred to, but it should be emphasised that it links the three west-to-east main roads, the two main railway stations and the Aerodrome, and the Municipal Hospital and the local centre of Rochford. Its future extension over the River Crouch to Maldon and Colchester will open up a route for through traffic which is sorely needed, for the existing road through Rayleigh to Chelmsford cannot satisfactorily carry the traffic that will use it after the War. The Committee are of opinion that this extension is bound to come at no distant date, and that the Council should take all practicable steps to secure and assist its construction. Cross Road. 57.It appears to the Committee that it may be confidently expected that, locally, the biggest traffic demand in the future will be from visitors seeking access to the sea-front, particularly those sections of it which will cater most for visitors and that, accordingly, as series of commodious roads leading southwards from the Arterial Road and the London Road to the sea-front in suitable positions is required. 58.Some of these already exist, in part if not in whole,viz. (1) Thames Drive, from the London Road only (2) the Fairway and Eastwood Road, from the Arterial Road but with no satisfactory continuation to the sea-front at Leigh Station (3) Southbourne Grove and/or Westbourne Grove, from the Arterial Road, leading directly to Chalkwell Avenue; (5) Sutton Road with, as existing, a difficult continuation to Corsham Road and Seaway; (6) Bournemouth Park Road, leading from Eastern Avenue directly to Southchurch Avenue; (7) Hamstel Road and Lifstan Way ; (8) the proposed road joining the Arterial Road and the Southchurch Road (itself a continuation of the London Road) at Bournes Green, and Thorpe Hall Avenue and (9) Hobleythick Lane, Highfield Gardens, Hainault Avenue, via London Road and Hamlet Court Road, to Station Road and Shorefileds. From the of view of visitors who come by road, the most important of these cross roads will be the two in the extreme West and those in the East centre. 59.Not all these roads are usable or safe and much work will be required to complete the system. The Committee think that it may well be considered that the works likely to be most urgently required are those affecting the southern part of Bournemouth Park Road and Hamstel Road which lead directly to that section of the sea-front itself where the need for redevelopment is most pressing. 60.There are other highway improvements, on a smaller scale, which should be undertaken as soon as possible, but they do not affect the question of post- war development in the same way as those mentioned in paragraph 58. And of course there remain the extensive major highway improvements urgently required on the sea-front itself which have been already referred to in detail earlier in this report. Rail Access (2) Access by Rail. 61.The L.M.S. Railway from Shoeburyness, parallel with the sea-front, to Fenchurch Street and the L. & N.E. Railway from Southend, initially northward and then westward, to Liverpool Street provide the rail access to the Borough. Both Railways have, of course, connections with their respective main line systems; the L.M.S. Railway at Barking with a route to St. Pancras, and the L. & N.E. Railway at Shenfield, with lines to Colchester and Ipswich and at Stratford with the rest of the L. & N.E. Railway system. Both Railways also have connections with the London Passenger Transport electric railway system, the L.M.S. Railway from Upminster to Barking and the L. & N. E. Railway from Shenfield to Stratford. It may be stated that Southend is almost equally distant from Upminster and Shenfield, approximately 20 miles. L.M.S. Railway. 62. The L.M.S Railway line in Southend is, perhaps, the more prominent, in that it directly traverses the residential districts east and west of the centre and prior to the War carried the bulk of business people and the majority of visitors between the Borough and London. 63.The most urgent need for Southend is the modernisation of this railway, with better, cleaner and faster trains, improved facilities at Fenchurch Street Station and, since that station is the only London terminus not connected with the London Underground system, a service of through trains to that system. 64.It is commonly considered that the electrification of the line between Fenchurch Street and Southend would go far to meet this need and most people contemplate that electrification will be carried out as soon as possible when the War is over, especially as electrified lines exist as far as Upminster, and in view of the fact that experience of main line electrification has proved so advantageous on the Southern Railway. 65.With the object of endeavouring to ascertain the intentions of the L.M & S. Railway Co. In regard to post war development generally and to electrification in particular, the Committee, as already reported to the Council, invited representatives of the Company to confer with them and accordingly, in April last, Mr. Ashton Davies, a Vice-President of the Company, and Mr. H. Mosley, the Company’s Parliamentary Officer, visited the Borough and met the Committee. 66.Unfortunately the representatives of the Company were unable to enlighten the Committee to any extent. They explained that it was impossible in existing circumstance and in view of the uncertainties of the position in which Railway Companies would find themselves after the War, to say anything definite, though, the Company fully recognised, that their interests and those of the Borough were similar, and would be served by co-operation. With regard to electrification, the Company’s representatives assured the Committee that they appreciated the concern of the Corporation to ensure a quick and frequent service of trains between Southend and London, but stated that they assumed that whether it was provided by steam or electricity was not at present the paramount consideration. They reminded the Committee that, as intimated previously, the question of the electrification of sections of the Company’s system was before the War, and would again, constantly under review by the Company, but added that the conditions on the Southend line were very different from those which obtained on the Southern Railway, for instance, and that the best system for Southend had yet to be determined. Further, they pointed out that there had been considerable deterioration of the rolling stock of all Companies during the War period and that it would not be possible to bring it up to standard immediately after the War. The representatives expressed the Company’s desire and willingness to confer with the Council on any particular aspect of post war development in which it was thought the Company could be of assistance. 67.At the present stage, when Railways are controlled by the Government, their resources taxed to the utmost, and their future uncertain, the Committee feel that they cannot hope to obtain any more definite statement as to the intentions of the L.M.S. Railway Company. At the same time the question of adequate railway facilities between London and Southend is of such vital importance to the town, and will inevitably play so decisive a part in its post-war development, that in the Committee’s view it is incumbent upon the Council to keep the matter constantly before them and, as soon as opportunity offers, to press the Company not only for definite proposals but for action to secure the objects referred to in paragraph 63. Local Improvements. 68.So far as improvements actually in Southend are concerned, the remodelling of the Company’s main station is a matter which seems to the Committee to be one upon which representations should be made to the Company when the War is over and, as already suggested, that work may well be correlated with an enlargement and redevelopment of the business centre in the High Street. Other works affecting the L.M.S. Railway Company or in which their co- operation may be desired, have already been mentioned, viz. the completion of Victoria Avenue as a direct access to the Front from Southend East Station; the Leigh Foreshore scheme, in relation to Chalkwell Station; and the development of Leigh Marshes, in relation to Leigh Station. L.N.E.R. 69.The L.N.E. Railway, as already indicated, lies along the northern part of the main commercial axis of the Borough, with its two stations, Southend and Prittlewell, conveniently situated; it links the centre of the Borough with the next nearest centre of population, Rochford; and it forms one side of the Municipal Aerodrome where traffic may well increase in the future. In order that the Committee might ascertain the intentions of the Company in regard to post-war period, a similar invitation to that issued to the L.M.S. Railway Company was represented ant the Conference in April above referred to. 70.As in the case of the L.M.S. Railway, it had been generally anticipated that the electrification of the L.N.E. Railway, already effected as far as Shenfield, would be extended to Southend in the near future but, at the Conference, Mr. E. W. Arkle, the Assistant Divisional General Manager, who represented the L.N.E. Railway, informed the Committee that before the War the Company had planned to electrify the line form Liverpool Street to Shenfield, itself an important junction, but that in view of the uncertainty as to the future of the Railways, referred to by the representatives of the L.M.S. Railway Co., it was not possible, at the present time, to say whether the L.N.E. Railway Company would propose after the War to incur the heavy expense which would be involved by the extension of the electrification of the line to Southend. He expressed the opinion that a decision on that question was likely to depend on the attractiveness, from a traffic point of view, of any proposals of the Corporation for the development of the town, and of the type of traffic which they might seek to attract. 71.For the reasons stated in paragraph 67 in relation to the L.M.S. Railway, the Committee are of opinion that no more definite information is likely to be obtained from the L.N.E. Railway Company at the present time, but, here again, they consider that at a later stage the Company should be pressed for a clear statement as to its proposals and that the Council’s action in the matter should be then determined accordingly. Suggested loop line. 72.The Committee have not lost sight of the proposal, first made some years ago, that a new line should be constructed from the Company’s Railway in order to shorten the distance to the Borough, cutting out the loop round Rayleigh, and to provide for the development of the northern portion of the Borough adjacent to the Arterial Road, and they took the opportunity, which the recent conference afforded, to urge that after the War this proposal might again receive the Company’s serious consideration. Local Improvements. 73. The L.N.E. Railway is affected by few, if any, of this major town improvements suggested in this Report with the exception of the central redevelopment scheme for the neighbourhood of Victoria Circus and the Company’s Southend Station. The possibilities, however, of developments at the Municipal Aerodrome might render desirable a station at or near Warner’s Bridge. (3)Local Transport Facilities. Public Transport. 74.Although the details of local facilities for transport by public service vehicles are not matters which are within the province of the Committee, they think it proper to point out that the implications of the proposals of this report, in relation to the main business axis of the town and the improvements and redevelopments of the main shopping centre, between the two Southend Railway Stations may, if accepted impose on the public transport systems of the future both a re-orientation of it’s main routes and also an intensification of the demand for adequate facilities for passengers in the central area, facilities which at the present time are entirely lacking. Central Omnibus Station. 75.This will make imperative the necessity for the provision of a central Omnibus and Trolley Vehicle Station, extensive in area, properly related to the Railway Stations and catering for passengers on the local district services as well as on the longer inter-urban journeys. The provision of a similar, though smaller, station at Leigh may also become a necessity when the natural development of the Borough westward and the contemplated large sea-front development at Leigh combine to make Leigh a centre of wider importance. 76.If, as seems possible, a co-ordination of Transport Services in the Borough should be effected the re-orientation of services and the provision of additional services, as well as the establishment of an adequate central Omnibus Station, should be greatly facilitated. Car Parks. 77.The problem of parking accommodation, closely allied with the subject of communications, has been dealt with in paragraph 31 of this Report in relation particularly to the sea-front, but it will also arise in the main business centres and, to a smaller extent in the suburban shopping areas. In the interests of the vital flow of through traffic the Committee consider that all steps practicable should be taken to provide or encourage the provision of parking accommodation off the highway. In new developments or in major redevelopments adequate provision may in many cases be required under the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act 1935 but, as experience has shown, it is difficult, under existing powers, to prohibit parking of cars on highways, especially where no alternative provision has been made. As already stated in the scheme of improvement, particularly in relation to the sea-front, this matter must be taken into account. Recommendation 3. 78.In regard to the matters dealt with in this section of the report the Committee again recommend that the policy outlined be generally approved by the Council, and in paragraphs 67, 71 and 77 be endorsed. IV. BUILDING AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING OF THE POPULATION. 79.Following the procedure already adopted in the regard to other aspects of post-war development the Committee have reviewed generally the question of Building Development and of Housing, in its widest meaning, in relation to long term policy, and offer the following observations on that subject and also some comments on existing conditions. Noticeable features. 80.On consideration of the noticeable features of housing in Southend, as it now is, two appear prominently. Character of Town’s Development. (a)The first is its generally middle class character. Due to its relative newness as a town, it is free, on the hand, from the very large houses for which there is in these days no demand and which in older towns have themselves presented problems to the Authorities and, on the other, from the dreary workers’ dwellings erected in earlier times. The extremes in Southend are not so remote, and even the working class areas are, for the most part, not obviously such. Deterioration of residential districts. (b)The second is the deterioration of some of the better residential areas. This is, of course, not an uncommon feature and arises from a variety of known causes which need not now be specified. The process, once started, is difficult to arrest or even to retard, and in Southend as elsewhere this deterioration and its effects present a real problem. Possible action. 81.The remedy is difficult to find. To a considerable degree the firm use of Town Planning restrictions, partly by imposing prohibitions and partly by canalising changes into restricted areas, may assist in arresting the deterioration, but without much wider powers of control of private property than are now possessed by Local Authorities, powers which, in practise, Parliament might hesitate to give, those Authorities are not in a position to solve the problem. It will be agreed, however, that the Council should use all such means as exist and can practically be employed to contribute to a solution. 82.In the same way the Council will no doubt desire that advantage should be taken of all statutory powers which now exist or which may be conferred on Local Authorities, to improve the standard of housing in the least satisfactory areas, and in this connection the Committee may point out that the general standard of accommodation prevailing in each locality is the guide, so that a reasonably high standard should be obtainable in Southend. Land and Housing Development. 83.In considering the principles which should govern the planning and development of the town of the future, and in particular the principles which should be followed in the provision of the housing and allied accommodation which will be required, the Committee have envisaged certainly a larger town but one probably of much the same social composition, though, perhaps, with more commercial interests than the existing town. Development in Groups. 84.Instead of indiscriminate development the Committee favour development of defined areas grouped around new centres, more or less complete in themselves though adequately linked administratively and by public services with the main mass. In this way the evil of the continued spreading of a large town may be avoided and more efficient administration ensured. In effect it is the application of the well-known principle of satellite towns to smaller satellites. 85.This would be rendered more easy of accomplishment if the Government should decide to introduce legislation on the lines recommended by the Uthwatt Report extending existing powers to defer, or prohibit, the development of selected areas in the interest of development as a whole. The selection of sites for more immediate development, and the canalisation of the demand for houses and public services into those sites, would lead to more complete development and rapidly make remunerative expenditure on these services. By “public services” the Committee mean not merely the trading and similar undertakings of the Local Authority or private enterprise, such as electricity, water, gas , main drainage and transport, but all the amenities which are essential to a well-ordered community such as schools, libraries, churches, public halls, shopping centres (properly restricted) and recreation grounds. 86.The application of this principle to an existing town cannot, of course, result in the same degree of integration as it would in the case of a completely new scheme of development. It should, however, be possible to apply the principle in part to future development in Southend. The areas of the town in which existing development is fairly continuous are moderately well defined. There will always be found within the border of an area some incomplete development, but beyond the area will lie other areas in which development has begun but has never approached completion and, between those, substantial areas in which there is no development at all. 87.The following descriptions illustrate the Committee’s meaning:- Thorpe Bay. In this area development is sharply limited on three sides, north, south and west; in the north-eastern part of the area development is partial only, and south of the London Midland and Scottish Railway there is an obvious tendency for it to join the development which is similarly extending westward from Cambridge Town, Shoeburyness. North of the railway the land is again agricultural. Shoebury. The development is in two fairly compact groups; Cambridge Town, lying on and to the west of Ness Road, and the area around the High Street and Shoebury Station. The two areas are united by Elm Road and Campfield Road, and served by War Department and Railway Company property. Southchurch. There are only the fringes of the developed area as far as the easternlimit of continuous development, roughly along the line of Eastern Avenue, Hamstel Road and Lifstan Way. Beyond this line are only agricultural land and the Thorpe Bay Golf Course, except for the houses along the Eastern Esplanade. Prittlewell. North of the Arterial Road and Prince Avenue, the next substantial area in process of development, (omitting the small Devonshire Estate), occupies the area south of Eastwoodbury Lane and west of the London and North Eastern Railway, and contains the Feeches Estate, the development adjoining the Aerodrome, and that of Bentall Estate on Rochford Road and Manners Way. Eastwood. One of the incomplete areas lies between Belfairs and the northern and western boundaries of the Borough, extending eastward to the south of Kent Elms Corner. The Arterial Road divides this area into two approximately equal parts; the northern part is served by Rayleigh Road, the southern by Eastwood Lane, Eastwood Road and Elmleigh Drive. Between the two is a small industrial area on the north side of the Arterial Road, where already some factories are established. County Districts. In the adjoining areas the centres of population that are most considerable are Hadleigh, on the London Road, which is almost continuous with the more or less fully developed area of West Leigh and Highlands; Rayleigh, thinly continuous with the partially developed area of Eastwood; Rochford, not yet continuous with the partially developed area of Prittlewell and served from it by the aerodrome; and Great Wakering, entirely disjunct from Thorpe Bay and Shoebury. Thorpe Bay and Shoebury. 88.The views which the Committee hold and wish to submit for the Council’s consideration and acceptance can, perhaps,be best exemplified in relation to Thorpe Bay and Shoebury. Here are two communities, still geographically distinct, yet together severed from the main mass of development by the open land to the west and north. Whether these two can merge into one will depend upon demand; but such a merging would be more to the advantage of the inhabitants than the uncontrolled spreading of both in all directions, and would permit of a more adequate provision of public facilities. Better communication between the two, and between them and the partially developed area north of the railway, is required to bring this about. 89.The Committee consider therefore that the possibility of deterring the development of the surrounding areas of land should be examined, such deferment to continue until the more immediately available land is well established; and that meanwhile the Council, through the various Committees, should consider the grouping of its social activities in a location which will most advantageously serve the whole area. The new Shoeburyness Senior School, at Caulfield Road, occupies a very central position on which to crystallise those activities; there may be other positions equally good. Southchurch. 90.In Southchurch the position is complicated by the urgent need to complete the construction of Eastern Avenue, from the north end of Hamstel Road to Bournes Green. An arterial road of this character should not attempt also to serve as a local road for development; it may properly provide a route to areas of development lying near it. The area most geographically suited for development is that in which it has already begun, the triangle between this future road, Hamstel Road and Southchurch Boulevard, and including also the area south of the existing part of Eastern Avenue. There is no clearly defined centre to this area. Hamstel Road Schools are as near a centre as anything that exists. Again, in this instance, the Committee are of opinion that development beyond immediate necessity could advantageously be deferred. 91.In this part of the town there is also the area south of the London Midland and Scottish Railway, between Lifstan Way and Thorpe Hall Avenue. This area is much smaller than the last-mentioned, and as yet has hardly begun to develop. The Severance of this small area from its neighbours by the Golf Course, the Car Park, the Railway, and Lifstan Way itself, may have contributed to this result; it is a matter for consideration whether development on the lines hitherto contemplated, along the railway line to Thorpe Hall Avenue leaving the Golf Course as an island, is either necessary or desirable for some time to come. Prittlewell. 92.The Prittlewell area, as above described, is fairly clearly defined and it is suggested that development should be limited to it. Eastwood. 93.The two areas in Eastwood, mentioned above, offer distinct possibilities for the application of the principle referred to in paragraph 84 of this report. The area to the south of the Arterial Road has many advantages in its situation, and may well become the site of one of the first demands after the war. Its limits are already fixed, except possibility on the south-east, and Eastwood Road from the “Woodcutters” to Eastwood Lane forms a convenient centre for it. That to the north is less clearly formed, as development is less forward, but the limits are well-defined. Open Spaces. 94.The suggestion outlined in paragraph 85 implies the provision of local recreation grounds, serving each local centre of population, in conjunction (not necessarily identical) with school playgrounds. The policy itself of canalising development into local centres of population implies that the intervening areas, from which development is to be excluded either for a number of years or permanently, will be kept for agriculture, allotments, or public open spaces of an influence wider than the areas they immediately adjoin. Powers. 95.The policy of prohibiting or regulating the development of land in particular areas, and of prohibiting or restricting building operations, is one which could only be carried out under existing legislation by means of Schemes made in accordance with the requirements and subject to the provisions of the Town Planning Acts. For the reasons already mentioned, the Committee are of opinion that further development of the Borough should be restricted as far as possible, in the first instance, to the four areas described above as Eastwood, Prittlewell, Southchurch and Thorpe Bay and Shoeburyness, and that, at the appropriate time, powers for that purpose should be sought by schemes to be made, or by the amendment of existing schemes, under the Town Planning Acts. Industrial Development. 96.Any proposals for the prohibition or regulation of development of land or buildings must, of course, have regard to the necessity of making provision for light industries, a matter to which the Council have already indicated they attach importance. While the establishment in the Borough of heavy industries, if practicable, is not desirable, since it would be detrimental to the Borough as primarily a health, residential and holiday resort, there is general agreement that light industrial development, reasonable in proportion and character and well planned, would benefit the community as a whole. 97.The existence of light industries in Southend would undoubtedly afford employment in normal times to a number of residents who, in the absence of such industries, have to seek it further afield; would assist in eliminating seasonal unemployment with its social disadvantages and would help to stabilise the income of traders who are now largely dependent on the season’s earnings. The Committee have no doubt that, with the qualifications mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the establishment of light industries in the town should be warmly encouraged. 98.The regulation and limitation of development discussed in earlier paragraphs contemplates the use for industrial development of such areas as are or can become available, and such development in certain areas has already been referred to. There are, however, in the Committee’s view, some areas which are especially suitable for industrial development and in which, in collaboration with adjoining Planning Authorities, provision for factories, planned in garden surroundings, could readily be made. The areas referred to are:- (1) The area lying north to the Arterial Road between Kent Elms Corner and Rayleigh Weir. (2) The area near Rochford. (3) The area between Shoebury and Wakering extending, in part, to the L.M.S. Railway. In none of these districts would industrial development interfere with the amenities of the Borough as a residential and holiday resort. 99.For light industries immediate rail connection is not requisite, and with the facilities which Southend can offer, such as an adequate supply of labour and easy access to London by the Arterial Road as well as the two railways, and with well-planned sites, the district should be very attractive to industrialists. The Committee consider that the attention of the appropriate Government Department should be directed to the advantages which Southend offers. Housing. 100.The actual provision of houses after the War to meet the demand will lie, as hitherto, partly with private enterprise and partly with the Corporation. It may be assumed that, in future, by means of Planning Schemes, greater control will be exercised by Local authorities over private building operations than in the past, especially in the matter of elevations, but this is a matter somewhat outside the Committee’s province. So, also, is the extent to which the Council should contemplate the provision of houses under their statutory powers. The Committee have accordingly refrained from any observations on that matter but they think that they may properly say that, whatever post-war programme of housing the Council may decide to carry out, it should, in concrete terms, be a contribution to the future plan for the Borough and not a mere accretion to the housing accommodation which now exists. Recommendation 4. 101.The Committee recommend that the views which they have expressed generally in this section of the Report, and particularly in paragraphs 84, 95 and 97, be approved by the Council. V. SCHEMES OF DEVELOPMENT. (1) General Consideration. 102.In the earlier part of this Report, the Committee have made certain proposals as to schemes of development in accordance with a consistent pattern to which, in their view, the Council should work and, in this connection, the Committee have reviewed a number of schemes which have already been considered or suggested. Review of Town Planning Schemes. 103.If those proposals, in general, commend themselves to the Council, a review and amendment of the Town Planning Schemes in force, or contemplated, will become necessary. The whole Borough is covered by Town Planning powers, about one half of it by operative schemes and the remainder in an advanced stage of preparation. Certain of the provisions of the Schemes, both operative and draft, conflict, as they stand, with some of the proposals of this Report. Generally the restrictive provisions, if rigidly applied, may be of great value in preventing deterioration or interference; the constructive provisions are inadequate and need to be supplemented by other powers. It may, also, be found in practice, that some of the work which the Council wish to undertake will be such as to necessitate the seeking the special Parliamentary powers. Co-operation with adjoining Authorities. 104.There are, and will be, other schemes of development which it will be necessary for the Council to consider and it is obvious that Southend cannot plan for itself without regard to its neighbours. The policy of limitation of continuous development, previously advocated in this Report, for example, immediately affects the areas to the north and west, into which development is likely to spread. The need and value of some Joint Planning Authority which could give consideration to such proposals, in order to ensure that they serve public interests generally, is apparent. And further, as already stated, it is impossible to predict the changes in the structure of Local Government which may follow the War. That there will be some changes is more than probable, though whether they will have the effect of extending Southend’s area of control and of increasing or decreasing the scope of that control, is at present unpredictable. Yet even if no change takes place, there is no doubt that Southend’s sphere of influence and of interest must extend far beyond its own boundaries and it is accordingly, in the Committee’s view, of prime importance that effective co-operation with neighbouring authorities should be maintained. Standard of Planning. 105.In planning for the future of Southend, and in the conception and execution of schemes of development, the Committee consider that the Council should not only seek to attain the highest possible standards but recognise that the immediate reward may not be the only recompense to be sought for the outlay to be incurred, and they are satisfied that such policy, if pursued, can result only in the ultimate creation of a vastly improved town and operate to the benefit of its inhabitants. (2) Representations of Local Authorities. Representations submitted. 106.The Committee wish to express their thanks to those local Organisations and persons who, in response to invitations or voluntarily, have submitted representations as to the post-war policy which they think the Council should follow in regard to the development of the Borough, and as to the schemes which they consider be carried out with advantage. Such representations have been received from the Chamber of Trade, the Rotary Club, the Business Luncheon Club, the Southend Trades Council, the British Legion, the Federation of Newsagents and Lea Bridge Industries Ltd. The committee desire especially to record their appreciation of the carefully considered report submitted to them by a Joint Committee of the Chamber of Trade and the Rotary Club, of which Mr. J. K. Waymouth, F.S.I. was the Chairman. 107.The Committee have given full consideration to all these representations and have had the advantage of discussing them with representatives of the Joint Committee referred to, the Business Luncheon Club and the local branch of the British Legion, who accepted the Committee’s invitation for this purpose. 108.The Committee do not think it necessary or desirable to refer in detail to these representations though, with respect to two of the most important proposals made to them, they think it proper to offer observations. They should say, however, that, as appears clearly from the representations themselves, in regard to many matters, both of policy and practical application, the views held by the Committee and above expressed are shared by the Organisations submitting them, and many of the detailed proposals are covered by earlier paragraphs of this Report. 109.The two proposals referred to in the last paragraph, upon which the Committee should perhaps make a few observations, relate to the proposed Town Hall site and to a proposed extension of the site of the Entertainments Pavilion on the West Cliffs. Each of these proposals was submitted by the Joint Committee of the Chamber of Trade and the Rotary Club, though the Business Luncheon Club expressed somewhat similar views in regard to the former proposal. Town Hall Site. 110.In relation to the Town Hall site, the Joint Committee stated that they were of opinion that the site in Victoria Avenue was not the best position for a Town Hall and Municipal Offices, and suggested that, as a site for the former, the Council should acquire the whole of the property bounded by Devereux Road, Clifftown Parade,Prittlewell Square and Alexandra Street, and the property comprising Cashiobury Terrace and add to the area thus made available, Prittlewell Square itself, the Alexandra Bowling Green and the sites of the intervening roadways. As a site for Municipal Offices the Joint Committee suggested the acquisition of the property comprising Capel Terrace, the property in Alexandra Street between Capel Terrace and Clarence Road and in Clarence Road itself south of the existing Municipal buildings, and the site of Clifftown Memorial Hall (but not the Church itself) immediately in the rear of these buildings. 111.As appears from paragraphs 42 and 50 of this Report, the committee have had in mind, in considering the future of Victoria avenue and its improvement, the fact that the Council have decided that the large area there, covering approximately ten acres, shall be used as the site for the future Civic Centre. The Committee’s recent consideration of the matters mentioned has confirmed them in the view that the Council acted wisely in acquiring and appropriating this extensive site for the purpose mentioned. He site possesses the essential features required in that it is ample in area, centrally situated, within easy access of the two main line stations and well served by road transport in all directions. The Council may, perhaps, be reminded that the scheme already and in respect of which plans have been prepared by Mr. E. Vincent Harris, R. A. covers not only a Town Hall and separate Municipal Offices but Police Headquarters and Courts, as well as Fire Brigade Headquarters. The Committee see no reason whatever to suggest that there should be any departure from the decision which the Council reached after much controversy and difficulty some years ago and, on the contrary they are of opinion that steps should be taken to proceed, by stages, to carry out the scheme in respect of which large expenditures have already been incurred, as and when circumstances will allow. Site of Entertainments Pavilion. 112.With regard to the other suggestion of the Joint Committee mentioned above, namely that the Council should acquire the site of the shops south of the site of the Entertainments Pavilion and the whole of the land and property not already owned by the Council. Between that site and Shorefield Road, the Committee, as may be inferred from previous paragraphs, are in entire agreement and, indeed, would go further and include the land and property east of the rear of the houses fronting Palmeira Avenue. The acquisition of that area would permit not only of the provision of car parking accommodation which will be much needed both for the Entertainments Pavilion and for the Western front generally, but make it possible to provide, as part of a scheme for the extension of the Cliff gardens a really suitable road, skirting the Entertainments Pavilion itself, connecting the West Cliff Parade with the Chawkwell Esplanade. Other proposals. 113.Three other matters to which the Committee think reference should be made, are also mentioned in the representations submitted to them, namely (a) the desirability of extending the Municipal Aerodrome (b) the possibility of developing the sea-front at Shoeburyness between Rampart Terrace and Blackgate Road and (c) the suggested establishment of a seaplane base on the foreshore. Municipal Aerodrome. (a) With regard to the first matter, as the Council are aware, negotiations were carried on prior to the War and, following the advice received from Messrs. Norman & Dawbarn, Aeronautical Consultants, with a view to the purchase of land for the extension of the Aerodrome in accordance with a scheme prepared by them and, although it is difficult at the present time to forecast what will be the future of civil aviation in the absence of any pronouncement of the Government’s intentions, it seems to the Committee most likely that it will be considered desirable, after the War, that these negotiations should be resumed in order that advantage may be taken of the alterations on the site which the War has brought about. They are not, however, as at present advised, in a position to submit any definite recommendation to the Council in the matter. Rampart Terrace, Shoebury. (b) In relation to the sea-front at Shoeburyness, at the present tine only a very small length, namely Rampart Terrace, is open to public use, the remainder being occupied by private property. Some years before the War efforts were made to devise a scheme of development in conjunction with the owner but without success. The Committee consider, however, that it is of the first importance to Shoeburyness and to the Borough as a whole that the development of this area, including the foreshore, should be strictly controlled, if possible under the Council’s ownership. They have no doubt that, while actual development may not take place for some time, the Council will agree that this question should be constantly kept in mind, for the whole area offers possibilities of improvement which would vitally affect its character; these possibilities would be much greater if there should be any change of policy in regard to the War Department property which would render it available for and the Council may well consider the particular importance of close co-operation with adjoining Local Authority in this matter as in others. Seaplane Base. (c) The possibility of developing a portion of the eastern foreshore as a Seaplane base was suggested by Mr. C. J. Smithson, at the time President of the Business Luncheon Club, and the Committee have given it consideration. Without expert advice it is not possible to say whether such a scheme would be practicable, but, apart from that aspect of the proposal, it is obvious to the Committee, as it will be to the Council, that, even if Parliamentary powers were obtained, the establishment of such a base, on any large scale, would at once fundamentally affect the character of the town. If it were to become an international seaplane and flying boat base it would, no doubt, import a substantial local industry and a considerable amount of traffic and increase the prosperity of some section of the community, but whether the impact of such a scheme on the life of the town would, on balance,be beneficial or detrimental is a question upon which the Committee consider local opinion would be very divided. They are not prepared, at the present time, to advise the Council to take any decision in the matter, thought the suggestion will no doubt be kept in mind. Recommendation 5. 114.The Committee recommend that the views expressed by them in the paragraphs of this Section of the Report be generally approved. VI. EXECUTION OF SCHEMES AND URGENT WORKS. Factors governing execution. 115.In the course of this Report the Committee have made reference to a large number of proposals of varying degrees of importance but all designed for the improvement of the Borough. The Committee are under no illusions as to the difficulties which will arise in the post-war period when it is desired to give effect to the more urgent of the proposals. For a considerable period finance will undoubtedly be the governing factor, while for a more limited time after cessation of hostilities the supply of materials and labour will also be of practical importance in cases where the execution of works is involved. However, subject to these considerations, and in the light of present knowledge, the Committee have thought it proper to intimate to the Council their view as to the priority which should be given to the schemes approved before the War. Order of Priority. 116.As and when, therefore, circumstances permit of their being carried out, and subject to such modifications as the Council may at the time deem appropriate, the Committee suggest that the order of priority should be as follows:- 1.The completion of the Entertainments Pavilion. 2.The Foreshore scheme from Chalkwell Station to Bell Wharf, (with appropriate facilities for swimming), and the reconstruction of the Western Esplanade from Shorefields to the Leas, having regard, in respect of the former, to its probable extension by schemed to include the old town of Leigh and for the improvement of Leigh Marshes. 3.The improvement of the Eastern Esplanade, including the provision of a Swimming Bath. 4.The Town Hall, Police Buildings and Public Offices. 5.The reconstruction of the Pier Entrance and Pier Hill. 6.The provision of a Yacht Harbour. Other Works. 117.In addition to proposals of the character of those mentioned in the preceding paragraph, there are, of course, works the progress of which was interrupted when War broke out, such as (a) the Victoria Road extension scheme, (b) the completion of the double carriageway of the Arterial Road at Kent Elms Corner and the widening of Prince Avenue, and (c) the drainage of the West Cliffs and Leigh Cliffs. The responsible Committees will no doubt desire to proceed with their execution as soon as possible. There will also be many other works which the various Committees of the Council will find it necessary, in the normal discharge of their duties, to recommend the Council to undertake. The Committee have not considered it generally part of their duty to refer to such matters which are, in their view, more properly subjects for the Committees concerned and in regard to which they naturally assume that those Committees will submit their own recommendations as and when necessary. Education Facilities. 118.The Committee have also refrained from reference, except in the most general terms, to the provision to be made in the post-war years to meet the educational requirements of the Borough, for the reason, which will be obvious to all, that it is the function of the Education Committee themselves to consider such requirements as they arise, and to submit their proposals to the Council from time to time. Clearly, however, in the consideration of any scheme of land or building development close co-operation with the Education Committee will be essential. Preparatory action during War. 119.The only remaining matter with which the Committee think it necessary now to deal, is that referred to in paragraphs 8 and 9 of this Report, namely, the preparatory section to be taken to ensure the rapid rehabilitation of the town after the cessation of hostilities. The principle matters which, it appears to the Committee, will immediately call for attention and in respect of which action should be taken in advance are:- 1.The resumption of street lighting. 2.The removal of black-out and works of protection from public buildings. 3.The removal of obstructions from highways, e.g. barriers, static water tanks, and steel mains. 4.The opening of access to the foreshore and the removal of concrete blocks and other obstructions. 5.The re-opening of the Pier, etc. as a trading undertaking. 6.The reinstatement of public parks and open spaces. 7.The repair of highways where overdue or in advance. 8.The removal of air raid shelters and restoration of premises used for Civil Defence purposes. 9.The repair and maintenance of Corporation buildings. The Committee have no doubt that the Council will desire that each of the Committees should review their activities and take steps, without delay, to ensure as far as practicable the early rehabilitation of the properties and the normal functioning of the Department under their control. Recommendations 6. 120.The Committee recommend that the proposals made by them in this section of the Report be generally approved. WILLIAM MILES, Chairman. August, 1944.
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