Car showroom in Leigh could be transformed into block of flats

A car showroom in Leigh could be knocked down and transformed into a block of flats under new plans submitted to Southend Council.

The outline planning application for London Road in Leigh proposes demolishing a building currently occupied by Bransons Cars and House of Cars and replacing it with a four-storey block of 14 flats, with two commercial properties on the ground floor.

The properties will include three ‘affordable units’, two penthouse apartments and off-street parking to the rear of the site.

Plans submitted by Skarchitects on behalf of the site owner, describe the development as an opportunity for “high quality contextually appropriate mixed-use redevelopment to further renew and regenerate the Leigh section of the A13 London Road”.

They go on to describe the business which currently occupies the site as having a “negative impact on the residential amenity of the neighbours” and notes that “the downturn in second-hand car sales has led to the business becoming unviable”.

They further note that the vehicle repair workshop that is attached to the showroom is in a “fairly poor state of repair” and “presents a negative image”.

However, Graham Roberts, manager of Bransons Cars, cast doubt on whether there is a serious intention to move forward with the plans and denied his business is in trouble.

He claimed the owner of the site has only submitted the planning application “to see what happens”.

“This application was from the owner of the property who we know well,” said Mr Roberts.

“He wanted to apply for planning permission to see what would happen and if he would get it. As planning permission lasts five years, he is not going to carry it any further unless we choose to leave the site and we have no plans to do that.

“It is not going to affect us.”

Steve Kearny, director of Skarchitects, said: “The intention is to retain commercial uses on the ground floor”.

The plans will be assessed by Southend’s planning team and will go before the council’s development committee at a future meeting.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter