Southend flats plan approved

A four-storey block of flats will be built next to a Southend retail park despite concerns the properties will not be suitable for the growing number of Southend families hunting for homes.

On Wednesday, Southend Council gave permission for 22 new flats to be built on an already demolished warehouse next to Mecca Bingo, on the corner of Maldon Road and Sutton Road.

The development consists of nine one-bedroom flats, eight two-bedroom homes, and five three-bedroom properties.

Ron Woodley, Residents First councillor for Thorpe Ward said the mix of homes went against council policy and proposed refusal of the scheme.

He said: “We are increasing the low level of suitable accommodation for families with this proposal. The percentage of one-bedroom flats in this is 40.9 per cent. Our policy says it should only be 9 per cent.

“I haven’t got a problem with building flats on this site. What I do have a problem with is we’re aggravating the situation if we pass producing smaller accommodation outside our own policies. I propose the committee refuses this on the basis of the percentage of flats being produced is not in line with our policies.”

Richard Longstaff, Green Party councillor for Leigh Ward, disagreed.

“He said: “I think this is an application worthy of approval. There is a demand for housing. It would be lovely to have two-up, two-down in and out drive family units but we haven’t got the space. We are now a city with a growing population and a demand for housing.

“This scheme represents a good mix of housing. It’s one-bed, two-bed and three-bed. It’s not ideal in terms of what people might consider family accommodation but it is in a semi-commercial area and in this city we need density and that density is going to be a fact of life as we progress.”

The site has been empty for eight years attracting flytippers. Council officers will now use delegated powers to approve full planning consent providing all conditions are met.

The developer will pay more than £31,000 towards secondary education at Cecil Jones Academy, and £10,300 is requested to benefit NHS patients.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter