Southend pub flats extension rejected

Plans to build two extra floors of flats on top of a pub in Southend city centre have been thrown out.

The “box-like extension” to the 1895 Dickens Pub by Timeplan Properties Ltd was refused by planning officers for having insufficient room for the occupants of the seven new flats.

The flat-roofed extension would have had windows opening onto balconies but planning officers said some flats would not provide a satisfactory standard of accommodation.

Occupants would have also suffered “significant” noise from kegs being moved in the pub below.

Objections from neighbours included that “additional residential units will put pressure and conflict with the operation of the pub at ground floor.”
It was also felt there was insufficient waste storage.

A report by planning officers said: “Overall it is considered that the proposal would have a significantly harmful impact on the character and appearance of the existing building and the street scene, appearing as an incongruous and excessively dominant addition of poorly- resolved design which is poorly integrated to the existing built-form.

“It would also detract harmfully from the currently positive relationship that the Dickens Pub element of this street block has with the former Odeon Cinema building adjacent. The proposal is therefore unacceptable.”

The building is part of a complex stretching round from the High Street and into Luker Road. It now incorporates Barclays Bank and a number of small shops.

Permission has already been granted, and construction commenced, for a one and two-storey penthouse on the building attached to the Dickens

Planning inspectors concluded: “Having taken all material planning considerations into account, it is found that the proposed development would be unacceptable and contrary to the objectives of the relevant development plan policies and guidance.

“The identified harm is not outweighed by public benefits including the proposal’s limited provision of additional housing. The proposed development is unacceptable and fails to comply with planning policy.”

The pub opened as the Dickens in April 2017 and was the Dickens Inn before O’Neill’s took over more than a decade ago.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter