What remains of Stambridge Mill is a building site of half demolished structures and the derelict former office building. Yesterday, walking past, I was surprised to see that the Developers have not secured the area and it's possible to walk around and into the skeleton of the buildings' remains. What a mess. Upturned and smashed up office furniture, including filing cabinets with spilled guts of reams of Allied Mills headed invoices from the 1980s, and before. Graffiti everywhere.
I hope the site is secured before an accident, or yet another fire, occurs. Eventually it'll be a new housing development, though I wouldn't be surprised if local residents have to endure this ugly reminder of Stambridge's heritage for a while longer. The Developer, Inner London Group ("ILG"), is obliged to bear the cost of improved flood defences. This will benefit their own scheme, of course, but also nearby properties - including homes in Mill Lane and Broomhill Nursing Home.
To undertake the scheme requires ILG to work with other land owners, including Cogent Land - owners of land at Coombes Farm and also the Environment Agency. As it stands, it appears there are both technical and commercial obstacles preventing the flood defence scheme moving forward - for example ILG will require access to land that is owned by Cogent, and this is subject to commercial terms being agreed. No doubt Rochford Council will come under pressure from the Public, complaining about the state of Mill site, in much the same way as nearby Esplanade House in Eastern Esplanade, Southend, has been left resembling a bomb site.
Robert Leonard, the Developer of Esplanade House, appear to be using that as a negotiating ploy to allow their own housing scheme to be agreed by Southend Council. I hope ILG are not planning to use the same bargaining chip, threatening to allow the Mill to remain an eyesore for years, to try to force their redevelopment scheme to move forward with amended terms in their favour. If this is the case, legislation is available to the Council to force the site to be cleared up and Rochford should not hesitate to consider using this if this becomes a protracted stand off.