Better Queensway – statement by Cllr Ian Gilbert, Leader of the Labour Group
This development will deliver better housing, a better environment and better lives for residents. But to make sure the focus remains on those people who need help most, it will require continued Labour leadership. I can only do that with your continued help and support.
I have always made clear that our first priority is the existing residents of Queensway. Usually major changes provoke worry and uncertainty, but my sense of every gathering of existing residents is that a large majority want this scheme to progress, and quickly.
All existing residents will have the right to a property in the new development on the same terms and conditions as now. Every dwelling, of whatever type of tenure, will have out-door amenity space be it a balcony or terrace garden.
Today I can announce that with those mechanisms we can go up to 612 ‘affordable’ homes and that a large majority of them will be social rented. I’m absolutely confident we can go much further over the lifetime of the scheme.
We are well aware of how controversial the highways changes are, and have gone back to the drawing board and looked at all the assumptions regarding the underpass. We are still looking at whether slip lanes or other changes to the road layout in the vicinity will help traffic movement. This will continue to evolve over the next few months.
The quality of the built environment around Queensway is frankly poor, and we owe it to residents of the Estate and to the wider community to change that. A large modern development close to the High Street will contribute to the regeneration of the Southchurch Road end of town and support local businesses.