Plans have now been submitted for Forum 2, a mixed use teaching and performing arts building in Southend.
Forum 2 is the second collaborative development between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and South Essex College.
Following the success of the Forum that opened in 2013, Forum 2 will complete the town’s educational quarter with a new ‘younger sibling’ building. The development will feature a rich mix of accommodation that includes an expansion of the Focal Point Gallery, a restaurant run by South Essex College which will be open to the public, a new digital art hub, and a range of performance spaces for dance, acting, and music, as well as recording studios.
Plans also include a digital workspace which aims to deliver affordable workspace for local creative and digital businesses, provide affordable access to the latest digital arts equipment and will include co-working space, meeting pods, workstations, an editing suite and a seminar room.
Angela O’Donoghue, Principal of South Essex College, said: “We’re extremely excited that planning has been submitted for our new provision in Southend. This 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, said: “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 project is due for completion by September 2021.