The Forum 2, which has just been submitted for planning, will be the second collaborative development between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and South Essex College.
Following the success of the Forum, which opened in 2013, ADP has developed plans to complete the educational quarter with a new “younger sibling” building. The development features a rich mix of accommodation that includes an expansion of the Focal Point Gallery, including contemporary and community art gallery space, a café run by the College and open to the public, a new digital art hub, a range of performance spaces for dance, acting and music, and recording studios.
Plans also include a digital workspace which aims to deliver affordable workspace for local creative and digital businesses, providing affordable access to the latest digital arts equipment. It will include co-working space, meeting pods, workstations, an editing suite and a seminar room.
ADP studio director Liz Jarrett said: “It is a pleasure to be collaborating with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and South Essex College once again, not only pushing forward the regeneration of Southend-on-Sea, but having the opportunity to develop an environment that must enable and facilitate learning, innovation and creativity.”
Angela O’Donoghue, Principal of South Essex College, said: “We’re extremely excited that planning has been submitted for our new provision in Southend. When completed, the new facility will allow us to increase our popular digital, media, music and performing arts offer in Southend, plus provide the town with a new restaurant, benefitting students and the local communities we serve.”
Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, added: “A second phase to this site was always envisaged and so I am pleased that a planning application has been submitted for this exciting project.
“The mix of accommodation would, we believe, create a vibrant and lively environment that should enhance the town’s burgeoning educational quarter and also encourage the public and students to visit and use Elmer Square more.”
In February 2018, it was confirmed that £6m of funding had been awarded from the South Essex Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), with the council contributing £2.7m, and the college contributing the rest towards the £19m project.
The scheme is due to complete in 2021.
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