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the.southend.communitynews@gmail.com   - editor David Wilson  07714772707 -   Journalist, melaniejanette@gmail.com     07917730238

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Businesses in south Essex are being asked to encourage their employees to travel more sustainably by installing cycle hangers on their premises.

The ParkThatBike scheme is part of a wider campaign by ForwardMotion to get more people out of their cars and using bicycles, walking or public transport.

 The lockable bike hangers provide weatherproof, secure storage for four cycles and there are six bike hangars still available. The bike hangar storage unit, worth £2,900, is provided free of charge. Companies pay only a £300 delivery and installation fee. Ordinary bike stands are also available for free with companies asked only to arrange installation themselves. ParkThatBike provides instructions for installing the bike stands.

Cllr Ron Woodley, chair of the South Essex Active Travel Sponsoring Board, said: “I think this is a great initiative to encourage local businesses to in turn, encourage their workforce to think of alternative and more sustainable transport methods. I would urge businesses to consider these for their properties to help promote sustainability and enhance the health and wellbeing of their staff.”

 Neil Blewitt, is Managing Director of Cantel Medical (UK) in Shoeburyness, who have already had a bike hanger installed. He said: “Cantel is dedicated to improving employee health and wellbeing. Having a bike hangar installed on-site is a positive step in our plans. Thank you to ForwardMotion and ParkThatBike for this fantastic scheme.”

ForwardMotion is a collaboration between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Essex County Council and Thurrock Council, and funded by the Department for Transport. The goal is to enable newly recruited employees, jobseekers and students to access jobs, education and training opportunities in south Essex and boost cycling, walking and use of public transport.

You can apply for a bike hanger or bike stands on behalf of your business, by phoning 01594 564 344 or online at www.parkthatbike.info/bikehangars

 

 

 

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Councillors will hear how work on the phase one site infrastructure has almost finished, with phase two underway which includes the completion of further utilities and the road loop around the business park.

Westcliff Rugby Club has also successfully relocated into a new 10,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, with four senior rugby pitches and a further six junior pitches and training areas.

The Launchpad, a dedicated facility designed to champion innovation in the area for start-ups and SME’s recently receiving planning permission from Rochford District Council, and a procurement process will take place this year to select an operator for the building, and £180,000 of sustainable cities funding has also been secured by the council’s energy team to improve the building’s environmental credentials.

 Construction is well underway on a 124,000 sq. ft. unit for first occupier, IPECO Holdings, which will move into its new home in 2020 and discussions and negotiation with a number of interested parties continues through Henry Boot Developments Ltd (HBD) and the appointed agents.

 The project progress is thanks to a budgeted public investment of £31m, of which £23m is from South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and £8m from the council’s capital budget.

 Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said:  “With the opening of the new Westcliff RFC clubhouse and playing pitches, this marks an exciting new chapter for the newly promoted club and local rugby fans, and is also an exciting next step in the development of the Airport Business Park Southend.

“The site is vital to drive opportunity, prosperity and economic growth of both Southend-on-Sea and the wider region. It will create more local employment, and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs, local business to expand and new ones to invest.”

Leader of Rochford District Council, Cllr Mike Steptoe, said: “I would like to wish Westcliff Rugby Club all the best in their new purpose-built facilities; it was great to see their new home which offers exciting opportunities for the years ahead.

 “This is a significant step in the Airport Business Park project, with IPECO holdings due to move into its new home early in the New Year. This site offers a world-class industrial park designed to attract businesses that want opportunities for growth, while bringing economic prosperity to both Rochford District and Southend.”

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Flying progress of Airport Business Park Southend as new rugby club opens

The controversial plan to raise the Queensway underpass will go-ahead under new plans for the borough’s most ambitious regeneration scheme.

 The £500million project aims to completely transform one of the most deprived areas in Southend with the existing tower blocks made up of 441 homes being completely demolished and replaced 1,700 new properties.

 New plans show that up to 512 of these will be ‘affordable’ homes and a further 300 could be social rent. All of the residents currently living in the tower blocks will be given new homes on the site.

 The leader of the council, Councillor Ian Gilbert, has said the plans represent “hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into one of the most deprived areas” that will create better and safer housing.

 However, one of the most controversial aspects of the scheme is to raise the four-lane Queensway underpass to ground level and this has not changed since the initial details were revealed.

 The plan to raise the underpass was initially approved by the previous Conservative administration, but following the publication of the plans at the end of last year, the party urged the new administration to make changes.

 In an open letter, Tory leader Cllr Tony Cox warned it would contribute to “continuous congestion”.

 Geoff Pearce, executive director of regeneration and development at the council’s partner firm, Swan Housing Association, called raising the underpass the “best option” and explained that “there will still be four lanes, there will still be a roundabout and this allows for added green space”.

 He added: “We are not putting in something we don’t think would work. If we kept the underpass as it is, would it really be a quality space?”

 Cllr Gilbert said: “I believe the benefits of the scheme in terms of better housing, better environments and better lives for the people of the town – the benefits speak for themselves.

 “We have gone back and looked at all the assumptions around the road network and this was signed off as meeting our minimum requirements this time last year and that is the key point.

“We really can’t afford to go backwards on this scheme.”

 The council leader went on to stress that the the scheme is to improve the lives of the existing residents on the estate and bring more affordable homes to Southend.

 

“As a partnership we are working to provide at least 100 more socially rented properties to the number previously proposed at the last consultation,” he continued.

 

“This would mean the scheme delivering at least 600 affordable homes for local people, of which a high proportion will be social rent, and I would this can go further still.”

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Businesses encouraged to install free bike hangers

Queensway underpass set to be filled in fresh plans for regeneration