Planners back new Westcliff flats plan

A row of businesses in Westcliff could be torn down to make way for two blocks of flats if plans are given the green light by councillors next week.

Developer Dove Jeffrey Homes wants to build a five-storey block of 14 apartments and a second four-storey block with 11 flats at 658 to 664 London Road.

The plans, which have been recommended for approval by council planning officials, include demolishing an empty office block and two vacant businesses.

If a planning application is approved by Southend Council’s development control committee on Wednesday, the smaller block will go into the car park of the adjacent Chalkwell Lawns building.

The flats likely to sell for between £275,000 and £325,000.

Raymond Dove, co-owner of Dove Jeffrey Homes, welcomed the support of planning officers. He said: “It’s good news. We’ve worked very hard with them to try to answer all the questions they had. We’re optimistic of approval. We’ve designed a scheme that works for everybody. We’re about people and not necessarily maximizing everything.

“The most important thing is we fit in with the local people’s needs. We’re already getting enquiries about the flats. There is a shortage of properties in the area.”

A previous application for prior approval for 16 flats on the site was refused in 2022.

The council received two letters of representation from residents, one objecting to the new scheme and one in support.

The objector cited parking and traffic concerns and overdevelopment while the residents supporting the scheme said it “looks to be of high quality” and the city needs more homes.

Recommending approval officers said: “The proposal has been found by officers to be acceptable in all relevant regards.

“This proposal creates new housing, therefore, when assessing any harm identified, it is necessary to demonstrate that, in reaching this decision, an appropriate balancing exercise has been undertaken considering the benefits of the proposal and any harm. The council has a deficit in housing land supply so the tilted balance in favour of sustainable development should be applied when determining the application as relevant.”

If approved the developer will pay a financial contribution of £19,780.30 towards secondary education locally.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter