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Southend on Sea Borough Council - DOC 14


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                            Southend on Sea Borough Council                                              Item No.

                           Report of Director of Leisure, Culture & Amenity Services
                                       Cabinet and All Members of the Council
                                                 27th September 2005
                               Report prepared by: Andrew Lewis, Mark Murphy and Steve Kearney

                                                  ‘Raising the Game’
                         Regeneration and the potential Olympic Legacy
Environmental Scrutiny Committee – Executive Councillors: Councillor Mrs Holland, Councillor Foster
                                                A Part I Public Agenda Item

 1.        Purpose of Report

 1.1        To set out Southend’s position and prioritise regeneration and other key projects in view of the
            International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) announcement on Wednesday 6 July 2005 that
            London is to host the 2012 Olympics. The report sets out to generate interest and enthusiasm,
            reflect the ‘big picture vision’ of what Southend will look like in 2012 and how the Olympic
            Games can help deliver it.

 1.2        To seek agreement to progress the development of ‘Key Projects’ that would link to the London
            Olympics 2012 leaving a ‘Southend Legacy’ that will provide for long term sustainable socio-
            economic regeneration.

 1.3        To agree to the appointment of specialist external consultant support, as may be necessary,
            and bidding for external funding to assist delivery.

 2.        Recommendations

 2.1        That the Cabinet agree to create an Olympic Review Panel to take forward the key
            Olympic as detailed in paragraph 4.4.

 2.2        That the Cabinet seeks to identify a sum in the order of £50,000 from the Corporate
            Initiatives Fund to act as ‘pump priming’ to attract further partnership funds up to a
            maximum of £1M for the engagement of appropriate marketing and marketing agency

 2.3        That the Cabinet agree to pursue the Council’s key regeneration priorities and projects in
            the context of positioning Southend as a major tourist destination that both benefits from
            and gives benefit to the wider London Olympic experience. This could include the
            engagement of consultant support at the appropriate time.

 2.4        That the Cabinet agree that Officers be asked to work up a delivery timeline for the key
            priorities identified in paragraphs 5.1.13.

 3.        Background

 3.1       The announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for London to host the
           Olympics in 2012 is news that will see Stratford and the surrounding areas go through a
           massive regeneration that will transform the physical, social and economic environment within a
           relatively short period. In view of this news the nearby Local Authorities and regeneration
           agencies will be drawing together their ideas on how to capitalise on the Olympics phenomenon.
           This is a massive opportunity for Southend and it is important that the Council considers at a

 ‘Raising the Game’ – Regeneration and the              Page 1 of 4             Report No: DLCAS 14-05
 potential Olympic Legacy
           very early stage how it will seek to secure direct and tangible benefit for the town of having the
           world’s largest sporting event followed by the Paralympics right on its door step.

3.2        Geographically Southend is placed in an excellent location to the east of London. It will enjoy
           easy access to the Olympic Village and people staying here will avoid the likely congestion that
           may well be experienced by those staying in other locations that require them to traverse the

3.3        In considering what Southend has to offer the Olympics we have to look broader and consider
           the context of Legacy. Southend is already a key hub and zone of change within Thames
           Gateway that has a proven track record to deliver, whilst also identified as the centre for Culture
           & Learning within the Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership. There is a huge opportunity
           here to achieve one of the Council’s key aspirations of re-positioning Southend as a major
           Cultural Capital. The Council needs to ensure that in re-positioning Southend it maximises the
           potential Olympic experience and provides a legacy for the Town as a major International tourist
           destination. The opportunity clearly exists to create a potentially world class visitor experience.

4.         Proposals

4.1        The Council’s vision for the future of Southend is its platform – the challenge and opportunity is
           to ensure that the Olympics help achieve the goal of creating:
           A town by the sea where people want to live work and play – a 21 Century urban seaside
                                     resort and regional cultural capital

4.2        It will be important that the Council remains very focused indeed on its key priorities and on
           what it wants to achieve – it must not fall in to the trap of developing an undeliverable and
           unrealistic ‘wish list’. In addition to this the Council has a critically important leadership role to
           play; it should act as a focus for creating enthusiasm within the community, as a catalyst for
           other agencies and for encouraging business community and private sector partners to ‘raise
           their own game’.

4.3        Clearly the Council cannot be responsible for delivering all the potential projects and initiatives –
           it must concentrate its effort on areas which cannot be achieved without its input and in areas
           where its effort delivers the maximum impact and benefit.

4.4        In order to drive this forward it is suggested that an Olympic Review Panel is created consisting
           of the Leader of the Council, Deputy Leader, the Portfolio Holder for Culture, Sport and Amenity,
           the Chief Executive, the Assistant Director Cultural Services, the Regeneration Services
           Manager and the Group Manager Design and Regeneration.

4.5        The following brief SWOT analysis sets a working framework:
                             Strengths                                                            Opportunities
     Geographic position to London & Olympic Village                       Re-position Southend as major 21st Century resort and
     Closest seaside resort to London                                       regional cultural capital / centre
     Excellent rail links                                                  Create ‘world class’ visitor experience
     Expanding Airport                                                     Deliver key regeneration priorities e.g. Pier, Pool, Prince of
     Strong political support to maximise opportunities for                 Prittlewell;
      Southend                                                              Transport infrastructure – major road improvements, rail,
     Council has track record of delivery                                   airport & hovercraft
     Strong partnerships in place                                          Improve commercial leisure development including hotel
     Southend Renaissance & TGSEP                                           accommodation, conferencing and casino development
                                                                            Deliver EDAW seafront study
                                                                            Promote healthy living & well being: a community ‘fit for the

                           Weaknesses                                                                Threats
     Existing hotel provision needs upgrading - quality & quantity         Gov’t regeneration funding concentrated on Olympics and
     Leisure & transport infrastructure need investment                     east London
     Limited capital & revenue resources                                   Inflation on construction costs affecting Capital Programme
                                                                            Skills shortage – inability to access labour
                                                                            Council not being focused on its key priorities
                                                                            Timescales – they are actually quite short !

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potential Olympic Legacy
5.        Next Steps

5.1        Some key areas for the Council are.

           Transport Communications

5.1.1      The Council must continue to work closely with the airport on their development plans, step up
           the agenda on public transport improvements and push forward the Hovercraft links with
           London and North Kent via Thames. The Council must also continue to push central
           government on major road improvements.

5.1.2      The case MUST be made that Southend is a key destination with a huge tourist offer with no
           major obstacles to prevent easy access to the Olympic Village.

5.1.3      In addition to this there is a major opportunity to work in partnership with the airport to promote
           Southend to a wider internal domestic and European market.

           Tourism, Marketing, Leisure & Culture

5.1.4      If the Council is intent to use the opportunity presented by the Olympics to re-position Southend
           then this will require a serious investment in terms of marketing spend and a paradigm shift in
           the way its currently approached. The opportunity to engage a marketing agency and work with
           them over (say) a 5 year period could produce a transformational shift in the way that Southend
           is perceived and help tackle head on the negative stereotyped view of the town and the
           negative economic impact that this has. However this will clearly have a cost both in terms of
           employing an agency in its own right and levering sufficient funds for them to deploy.

5.1.5      Officers believe that if the Council were able to identify a sum in the order of £50K to ‘pump
           prime’ this initiative then the potential exists to seek to match this investment from other public
           bodies, regeneration agencies and the private sector and that a promotional budget of
           potentially £1M might be achievable. It is recommended that the Regeneration Services
           Manager be authorised to commence ‘in principle’ discussions with key agencies to canvass
           their opinions.

5.1.6      It is suggested that the Council’s key leisure and culture investment priorities should be:

                 The replacement of the Warrior Swim Centre which includes proposals for ‘world class’
                  diving facilities and improvement of the public realm around Warrior Square;

                 The creation of a new nationally important Saxon King Museum located potentially in the
                  cliffs slip area on the seafront;

                 The redevelopment of the Pier – a world class visitor attraction;

                 The development of the seafront, further commercial leisure opportunities including hotel
                  conferencing and casino facilities along with improved beach facilities west of the Pier.

5.1.7      The Olympics provide and opportunity to both continue the promotion and marketing of
           Southend as a destination in its own right but also focus on some new tourist markets:

           i.         Southend as a transit location - people who land at the airport and go on immediately to
                      other destinations.
           ii.        Southend as a short stay destination – people to use the town as an initial base before
                      moving on to other destinations.
           iii.       Southend as a key destination – people who stay in the town as the base for their
                      Olympic visit motivated by it being an exciting seaside resort with easy access to
                      London & the Olympic village.

‘Raising the Game’ – Regeneration and the              Page 3 of 4            Report No: DLCAS 14-05
potential Olympic Legacy
           iv.        Southend as a day visit destination – a day out for people staying elsewhere around the
                      London axis.

5.1.8      Each of these provide the town with quite distinct opportunities but the common challenge of
           working in partnership with the airport, railway operators and hoteliers to create and market an
           ‘offer’ attractive enough for visitors to want to invest in.

           Business and Commerce

5.1.9      Here the Council needs to take a leadership role in developing the right sort of Hotels and
           secondary businesses that will be required as part of the wider Olympic experience and the
           legacy thereafter. It will be important for the Council to capitalise on existing local links with big
           national companies like Olympus who own Keymed. There is the further opportunity presented
           by academic links with business through partnership with the College and University.

5.1.10 In addition to the issues identified earlier in the report there are other opportunities for Southend
       - some of these include:

                The use of a ‘new’ Warriors pool for pre Olympic diving competition / acclimatisation
                Opportunity for Southend to be used as a base for smaller Olympic teams
                The development of major sports development initiatives which include programmes with
                 National Champions that target schools for example
                Projects with the University focused around sports science
                The EDAW concept for Seafront including Urban Beach
                Development of sports and water sports programmes

           Leaving a Legacy

5.1.11 The Council need to be clear about the priorities and long term aspirations in light of the
       Olympics and start pulling together other strands of regeneration such as the EDAW Seafront
       Study, Airport development, Hovercraft Service, Town Centre Area Action Plan etc to ensure
       that the opportunities presented by the Olympics and its legacy thereafter is fully maximised.

5.1.12 There are a huge number of areas that need to be looked at quickly to ensure Southend's future
       as a major tourist destination is secured for future generations. The above list is non-exhaustive
       and must be ‘bottomed out’ with the key priorities and projects identified to allow the complex
       planning and programming to begin.

5.1.13 As such timescales are a big issue in terms of deliverability. Key Construction work is likely to
       increase in cost due to materials and skills shortages. Again the Council should maximise the
       links it has with Prospects College in producing the much needed skill to implement the physical
       works. Overall the timescales for implementation need to be discussed in much more detail and
       it is suggested that Officers be requested to draft the appropriate timeline for further discussion.

5.1.14 Finally partnership working will be the key to the successful delivery of a lasting legacy for
       Southend so it is obvious, but none the less important, that early discussions with Southend
       Renaissance and TGSEP are actively pursued.

6.        Background Papers

6.1       No background papers were used in the preparation of this report.

7.        Appendices

7.1       There are no appendices included with this report.

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