Decision awaited on Fossetts Farm mini village plan

Bold plans for a mini village of 221 “flat-pack” homes near Waitrose in Southend could get the green light next week.

A four-storey block of 32 flats and 189 houses have been proposed for land in Fossetts Way, off Eastern Avenue, Southend.

The one to four-bedroom modular homes would be built off site by Ilke Homes before being assembled on the 15-acre plot near B&Q, some in under 36 hours.

A total of 68 homes will be affordable in excess of the council’s requirement of 30 per cent.

The development would also be close to the proposed Southend United stadium at Fossetts Farm, where more than 1,000 homes could be built.

It is also next to another 200-home development.

While the new homes will help meet current Government targets, some are anxious infrastructure and the impact on roads, schools and healthcare is still being ignored, particularly in the east of the borough.

Peter Lovett, vice-chairman of Shoeburyness Residents’ Association, said: “We keep building more and more houses but they have got to get the infrastructure right. That area is already chock-a-block at peak times.

“There could be another 400 cars. It’s absolutely crazy. Someone needs to take up the challenge of infrastructure because businesses can’t get in and out of Shoebury as it is.”

Five trees will be removed for the development but 145 new ones will be planted along with shrubs and hedges. The council received one objection from a resident who said many trees had already been lost ahead of the development.

Sutton Parish Council also objected that there was no plan to deal with contaminated water run-off from roads and parking areas.

Nevertheless, town planners supported the application.

They said: “the proposed development would, on balance, be acceptable and compliant with the objectives of the relevant local and national policies and guidance. The proposal is acceptable in principle and provides an appropriate dwelling mix.

“It would have an acceptable impact on the character and appearance of the area. The proposal would also have an acceptable impact on the amenities of neighbouring occupiers, the highway and parking conditions in the area and would be acceptable in relation to waste management.”

The land formerly belonged to the NHS and was earmarked for a diagnostic and treatment centre. The plans were abandoned in 2018  and the site sold to the Government’s Homes England for £7,875,000.

Martin Berry, Labour councillor for St Luke’s and a member of the Fossetts for the People campaign group, said: “This is potentially a lot of social housing and we are very much in favour of that. While this is more than the legal requirement for affordable homes we need to look at the detail and see how that would work and what will be classed as affordable.

“What the Government classes as affordable is beyond the reach of most local people.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter