Southend Council slammed by Lundy Close residents over housing plan

Frustrated residents claim they have been left in the dark over plans to build up to 31 affordable homes in their street.

The residents living on Lundy Close, near to Southend Airport, have been urging the council not to go through with the housing plans for more than a year as they fear it will leave them without any open green space and result in over development.

They were left shocked on Thursday night after Southend Council leader, Councillor Ian Gilbert (Lab), announced an architect had been appointed to draw up plans.

Cllr Gilbert told the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee: “We have appointed an architect to prepare preliminary drawings. We are very well aware of the sensitivities around the development and have taken that on board.

“We will be in a position to share development options more widely very soon.”

Later in the meeting, Cllr Gilbert stressed the importance of building extra homes “most importantly” due to the number of people on the housing waiting list, which stands at around 1,500.

Cllr David McGlone (Con), who represents the St Laurence ward, told the committee he feared “the worst” for Lundy Close.

The announcement came as a surprise to residents who say the council has not communicated with them at all.

Laura Newman who led the campaign against house building on Lundy Close said it “pains” her to hear that an architect had been appointed.

She said: “I had assurances from the head of the council that I would be informed should this happen, once again the council do not communicate at all with its residents.

“This is the first I have heard of it since the beginning of the year. At the last council meeting, Cllr Gilbert said he, and other labour councillors would meet me and other residents at the site so they could hear our concerns directly from us and that I could show them around the site.

“Guess what, this has never happened.

“We have received nothing from the council whatsoever, no phone calls, no leaflets, nothing.”

Miss Newman went on to call the council “hypocritical” for highlighting the many green spaces being created as part of regeneration schemes such as Queensway while looking to build on the space residents currently have.

She added: “We want our public space left alone, we want our trees left, we want our wildlife left and we want to keep the green as somewhere for our children to enjoy in years to come.

“The way Southend Council has gone about it makes it feel like we, as residents, won’t have a choice or a voice.”

The proposals for homes on Lundy Close first emerged in a Southend Council land review which found there was unused land which could accommodate up to 31 homes. Since it has been claimed it would only be possible to build seven.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter