Work on Southend flat pack village yet to begin

A developer has gone silent over a promised “mini village” of more than 200 new flat-pack homes in Southend, with councillors calling for work to start as a matter of urgency.

Ilke Homes was granted planning permission for 221 homes in Fossetts Way, off Eastern Avenue, in August last year, but so far no work has started on the 15-acre plot near B&Q.

The scheme is in addition to 131 homes planned by Homes England on nearby land and the first phases of the new Fossetts Farm stadium which will bring another 224 homes.

Last month the company applied to make some minor changes to its plans, including changes to some windows, roof pitches and rendering but St Luke’s ward councillor Martin Berry was disappointed the development, consisting totally of affordable homes, had not yet started.

He said: “I’m keen for this development to go ahead. It would be good to get an update from Ilke. These homes are needed and this particular development would be a good one for local residents.

“This is a rare occasion of a developer accepting the need for affordable housing in our city, proposing to build far in excess of the legal minimum planning law requires.”

Cllr Berry added: “Overall I was rather keen on this one because unlike the Homes England development it has a decent element of affordable housing and between this one, the football club and Homes England, it looked like it might well happen first.”

It was expected the four-storey block of 32 flats and 189 houses would rapidly take shape on the site thanks to an innovative construction technique which would see the one to four-bedroom modular homes built off site before being assembled in under 36 hours.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture and tourism, was upbeat about the scheme going ahead.

She said: “all planning permissions have a three year life so they’ve got three years in which to commence the development. It could be all sorts of reasons. It could be resources, materials, or finance.

“It depends on the economic climate. Some developers have got the money and they are ready to go. Others will get their permission and then seek the finance.

“I certainly haven’t heard any negatives about it.”

Ilke Homes had not responded to a request for a comment at time of publication.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter