Projects Map

Southend Growth Hub


Approval status


Fully approved

Delivery status


LGF project delivered

Project completion date


Spring 2017

Phase One

Phase one of the Central Area Growth Point project combines multiple priorities delivering long term benefits; job creation, skills, investment confidence in a deprived area, key sector support and environmental benefit.

Former central library and museum

The project will deliver new heating and improved ventilation to the former central library (home to the Beecroft Art Gallery and The Hive Enterprise Centre) and the Central Museum using a Biomass boiler, solar PV and new lifts within the Gallery and Enterprise Centre ensuring their sustainability for the long

The former central library and museum are co-located on Victoria Avenue adjacent to Southend Victoria train station. The former central library benefitted from investment by the Council and through Southend’s City Deal in 2013-14 totalling £1.2m. The museum is also home to the planetarium and is a
key feature of Southend’s cultural offer to residents and visitors.


Victoria Avenue has been blighted by derelict buildings for more than a decade. These have deterred investors, lowered confidence, triggered anti-social behaviour and been an unwelcoming gateway to the town centre for visitors and businesses alike.

Recent investment and activity by the public sector has been the catalyst for private investment which will see some buildings brought back into use. The Central Museum and former Central Library are still within Council ownership and have the potential to be transformational projects both in terms of their position on Victoria Avenue and what they can deliver with regards to job creation and cultural
industries growth and engagement. We have longer term aspirations to develop a new Museu

Project delivery

Specifically the project will deliver:

  • Biomass boiler to replace defunct boilers at both former Central Library and Museum
  • New Building Management System to manage boilers and ventilation
  • Programmable valves to generate savings by allowing programming on individual rooms
  • New heating circuits in ground floor reception
  • Solar on the plant room roof
  • Ventilation improvements to make the system fit for purpose, last and to reduce noise currently making parts of the Hive unusable
  • New lifts to replace the current end of life equipment

Phase Two

Forum Phase 2 will directly capitalise upon the significant success of the Phase 1 Forum scheme. It will deliver a 5,308 sqm (GIA) new building on Council owned land immediately opposite the existing Forum scheme within the Southend Learning Quarter, also home to the South Essex College and the University of Essex Southend Campuses.

The building will comprise a mix of educational/cultural/innovation functions and will be delivered and operated in genuine partnership between the Council and the College. It will assist to underpin
this key regeneration area as an educational and cultural quarter and will directly drive significant regeneration and economic benefits across the town centre and wider LEP economy.

Forum Phase 2 Scheme

Southend Council has an ambition to establish Southend as the leading cultural capital within the East of England.

The Council is transforming Southend through a ‘Creating a Better Southend’ initiative, which comprises an ambitious programme of infrastructure projects to improve the perception/appeal and experience of Southend and to develop the town’s economy.

The development of Forum Phase 2 will contribute to this wider regeneration activity within Southend. Forum Phase 2 will capitalise upon the success of the existing Forum facility and complete the transformation of Elmer Square into an attractive and innovative learning quarter within the heart of the town centre, which can be enjoyed by students and the wider community alike. It will provide much needed academic teaching/learning and workspace for new business startups and will serve as a key driver of wider town centre footfall and spend.

Capital Programme delivery update

Take a look at our update on the delivery of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Growing Places Fund (GPF) capital programmes.

SELEP Capital Investment Programme

£570m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock

In total the SELEP Growth Deal with Government has brought £570m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal (2015-2021) we aim to deliver 78,000 jobs and 29,000 homes across the SELEP area, with the Deal set to attract a further £960m of investment into the South East over the six year period.

Find out more here
Funding value: £0.720m
Total Project cost: £1.092m
Return to Capital Investment