Planning permission refused for blocks of flats in Southend

A developer hoping to secure planning permission for almost 20 new flats in the centre of Southend has failed to secure planning permission due to limited parking spaces.

The planning application proposed building 18 flats across two three-storey blocks on Sutton Road in Southend.

Developer Trafalgar Traditional Homes saw the demolition of former industrial buildings to redevelop them into flats as having a “positive impact on the neighbourhood” while also making a “contribution to the Southend edge of town centre street scene”.

However, the developer’s plans have fallen through because there was only going to be 12 parking spaces for the 18 properties.

Trafalgar defended the number of parking spaces in planning documents, explaining the site is located close to public transport including bus stops and the Prittlewell Railway Station.

But council planning officers were unconvinced when considering planning permission and said in their refusal that the limited parking would “increase the demand for on-street parking, leading to increased parking stress in an area of existing parking pressure”.

They added: “This would be materially harmful to highway safety, the free flow of traffic and the amenities of existing and future occupiers.”

Further concerns were also raised about the lack of affordable housing in the plans, as well as the layout which officers said would be “harmful” to the street scene.

The decision on planning permission would usually have been made by councillors on the Development Control Committee but the Covid-19 outbreak meant meetings had to be cancelled and planning officers had to make the decision.

Councillor Jennifer Beck (Lab), who represents the Victoria ward and is a member of the committee, said she trusts that officers will have acted “fairly” in making the decision.

She said: “Car parking provision and access to various schemes is a subject that affects many residents within Victoria ward and indeed across the borough.

“In these exceptional circumstances of meetings being delayed or decisions delegated under emergency protocols, I trust the officers and leaders to act fairly.

“I welcome the new developments along Sutton Road in general but on street parking is limited.

“It therefore put a more emphasis on any new development being able to provide spaces for new residents without creating harm to overall provision.”

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter