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26 Aug 2011

The Forum

ADP is delighted to announce that on 17th August 2011 the £27m regeneration scheme for a new library and learning centre in Southend-on-Sea received planning permission. The new building, formerly known as the Elmer Square development, has now officially been renamed as The Forum.

The Forum will create a hub that will form the centre of Southend’s educational quarter. Jointly funded by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, the University of Essex and South Essex College of Further and Higher Education, the new facility will form an integrated municipal and academic facility. The Council is contributing £12.5m towards the projects cost, with £10.4m worth of funds coming from the University and £4m from the College.

ADP Partner, Roger FitzGerald, commented on the news: “We are thrilled to be working on this major project for Southend. The project will combine complementary uses for the Council, College and University, making it a really hard-working building for both Southend’s residents and its student community. It is set to be a really important cultural landmark for Southend.” Southend's residents will benefit from a 20% increase in accommodation from the existing municipal library, public access to a combined book collection, ICT stations and a large lecture theatre available to the public for events outside of normal teaching hours. There will also be a cafe, Focal Point Gallery, children's library and play space, and a new large public square with a giant LED screen to show sporting, local and cultural events.

Due to be completed in August 2013, the impressive four-storey building will be built on the former Farringdon car park site and replace the town's existing Central Library in Victoria Avenue. Contractors are expected to be announced in January 2012, with construction work starting the following month.

Simon Leftley, the Council's Corporate Director for Adult and Community Services described what the scheme means to the people of Southend: "The new library will be a fantastic asset to the people of the town, a place where people of all ages can go to study, learn, research and take part in a whole multitude of activities."