Students Staff

05 March 2012

Ground-breaking at The Forum Southend-on-Sea

Southend Campus

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan and Registrar Bryn Morris

The traditional ground-breaking ceremony has marked the start of construction on The Forum Southend-on-Sea.

Main contractors Wates Construction is now on site working to complete the £27 million project, by the autumn of 2013. The Forum Southend-on-Sea in Elmer Approach will provide a new public and academic library for the town, a new teaching facility for South Essex College and new research and learning facilities for the University of Essex.

It will also be a new home for the Focal Point Gallery, a cafe and a lecture theatre.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council's Executive Councillor for Culture and Tourism, Councillor Derek Jarvis, said: "This ground-breaking event marks the ceremonial start of a ground-breaking venture.

"We are immensely proud of this joint project, which is one of the first of its kind in the country, and it is a tribute to trailblazing partnership working."

Registrar at the University of Essex Bryn Morris said: "Today marks a major step forward for The Forum Southend-on-Sea as the building work gets underway.  This project is a vital addition to the University's growing presence in the town and we look forward to seeing The Forum Southend-on-Sea come to life."

John Hayles, Acting Principal and Chief Executive of South Essex College, said: "It's great to help kick off The Forum Southend-on-Sea project with all the partners at this ground-breaking ceremony. It's amazing to think that in around 18 months from now we'll have gone from a site full of rubble to an inspiring new library and learning facility for the public and College and University students alike."

The Council is providing £12.5 million towards the cost of the scheme, with the University contributing £10.4 million and the College £4 million.

For further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 872400 or

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