Southend Road Subway

This underpass represents the only safe route by foot to the town centre for about a quarter of Wickford residents. When it has been blocked by flooding, as earlier this month (October 2014), people have had to take their lives in their hands and cross the busy Jubilee Way dual carriageway.

The flooding problem will hopefully be resolved soon, but the underpass is still rather forbidding to use especially late at night in darkness.

But it doesn’t have to be like this!

When Riverside Place, the seven story block of flats at the edge of the subway was built, one of the conditions set by the council was that the developers would
agree and implement a scheme of improvements for community safety in and around the Subway prior to occupation of any part of the Development’,
and which would include
a CCTV system for the Subway linked to such monitoring systems as the Council shall reasonably require.

This is known as an ‘S106 agreement’, and is the usual way that councils can get a contribution from developers for things like school places, doctors, road improvements etc. in return for permission to build. That was the case here, and it also had the specific requirement to improve the subway in the S106 agreement signed and dated 25 October 2006.

“Overburdened with S106 requirements”

Riverside Place was built by Bradgate Developments, and one of the directors, Ray Ride, opposite, is a local councillor (for Runwell and Rettendon, Chelmsford Council), and owner of Wickford Garage and a director of Quick Fix Tyres. He was also chairman of the Wickford Business Association in the early days of the disastrous Wickford Masterplan, which this Association played a part in scheming, along with Basildon Council.
Coincidentally, the Riverside Place development was regarded by the developers as the ‘flagship’ project which would kick start the Masterplan.

It is now 8 years since Mr Ride signed an agreement to upgrade the subway prior to occupation of his block of flats, and despite the Wickford Action Group’s pressure on the Council to resolve this, nothing has been done.

The question we need to ask is:
Why have the subway safety and CCTV improvements not been implemented?

We have asked Mr Ride but have yet to receive a reply, which we will include here if we do.

Below is part of a 2006 email which we obtained under freedom of information, which illustrates Mr Ride’s views on S106 agreements. (The ‘Leader’ referred to below is Malcolm Buckley, then leader of Basildon Council, who was voted out in the 2014 council elections)

This is the section of the S106 Agreement, signed and dated 25 October 2006

6. FURTHER COVENANTS BY THE OWNER, THE APPLICANT AND BDL2

6.1 The Owner, the Applicant and BDL2 jointly and severally covenant with the Council:

6.1.1 prior to Commencement of the Development to negotiate and agree with the Council {as local planning authority) a scheme of improvements for community safety in and around the Subway;

6.1.2 to carry out such agreed improvements to the Subway at the expense of the Owner and/or the Applicant and/or BDL2 prior to occupation of any part of the Development save for and in connection with the existing business of the Owner;

6.1.3 to provide, at the expense of the Owner and for the Applicant and-For BDL2. a CCTV system for the Subway linked to such monitoring systems as the Council shall reasonably require such system to be agreed prior to Commencement of the Development and to install such system prior to occupation of any part of the Development;

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