Have your say on Elmer Sq?
5th April 2011
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Have your say on the Elmer Square development

Southend residents have one last opportunity to have their say on plans for the new library and learning development at Elmer Square.

Architects are currently in the process of drawing up final designs for the ambitious £26.9m scheme.  But before they submit their plans to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Development Control Committee in May residents are being asked for their input.

A public consultation exercise will take place at two different venues in the town on Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th April.  On Tuesday 12th April current plans for the new scheme will be on display at the Elmer Suite in the University of Essex’s Southend Campus in Elmer Approach from 9am to 7pm. The following day they will be available for inspection at Southend Central Library in Victoria Avenue from 9am to 5pm.

The Elmer Square development is a joint venture between the Council, the University of Essex and South Essex College of Further and Higher Education.  It will provide an integrated municipal and academic public library alongside a modern teaching facility for the College and a stimulating research and learning environment for the University.

The building, which will be set within a new public square, will also provide a new home for the Focal Point Gallery and a new café.  The new building will be constructed on the former site of the soon-to be demolished Farringdon Car Park.

It will be funded jointly by the Council (£12.5m), the University (£10.4m) and the College (£4m).  It is currently anticipated that construction work on the scheme will commence in early 2012 and be completed in autumn 2013.  Architects ADP successfully won the contract to design the new building and the main contractors are expected to be announced in January next year.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Corporate Director for Adult and Community Services, Simon Leftley, said: “This is an opportunity for people to have their say on the new library.  “We want them to let us know what aspects about the existing library facilities they would like to see retained and to come and have a look at the current plans for the new building.  “The new library will be a fantastic asset to the people of the town - a place where people of all ages can come to study, learn, research and take part in a whole multitude of activities.”

Registrar and Secretary of the University of Essex, Dr Tony Rich, said: “This is a vital development to enable the University of Essex to provide the best possible learning facilities for its growing number of students in Southend.  “We believe it will also provide modern, high-quality facilities for the local community and we welcome the opportunity to show the plans to residents and hear their views.”

Jan Hodges, Principal & Chief Executive of South Essex College, said: “Our future students will benefit immensely from these facilities and we would encourage them, along with the wider public, to engage with this exhibition. “Feedback on what is proposed will help us shape the best possible environment for all.”


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Claire T

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