CONTENTIOUS proposals to build flats above a popular pub in Leigh have been submitted to Southend Council for approval.
The new plans request permission to add multiple floors and flats above the Sarah Moore Pub in Elm Road.
Previous applications for development on the site faced rejections and raised objections among residents and council members, with concerns raised over inadequate parking, potential traffic disruptions, and subpar living conditions.
Southend Council’s Planning Inspectorate previously rejected five applications to the site, which date back two decades
Last year, Leigh Town Council rejected the plans, following previous rejections in 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2003.
Coun Bernard Arscott, the chairman of Leigh Town Council, expressed his scepticism about the chances of approval, given this history of refusals.
He emphasised the need for Southend Council to thoroughly review the application, considering their past decisions regarding this site.
The Planning Inspectorate supported a prior decision to reject the plans, citing concerns about noise and poor design.
However, they suggested that a fresh application could be approved if certain conditions, including acoustic soundproofing, were met.
Traffic impact remains a major concern for residents, who fear gridlock and overcrowding, a common problem voiced by residents and visitors of Leigh.
Coun Arscott commented: “I’m somewhat surprised to see the application submitted again, as this is one of several submitted at this site.
“The submissions were either for an additional three floors containing seven flats or even six flats. Previous applications were refused by the planning inspector for six flats, so I would be surprised if this succeeded.
“If these had been approved then the overall size and scale of the building would be out of context for the surrounding area.”
Coun Peter Wexham of Leigh Ward added: “They’ve tried this once before and put applications for floors above the Sarah Moore pub. The government changes have also made it easier now to build floors above things
“I don’t think it will help a lot because it will simply add to the parking problem – you can’t build car parking spaces in the sky.”
Coun Wexham added that it did not signal good news for the town: “With all the flats going up, making buildings taller is making Leigh like a long tunnel. It’s changing the atmosphere of what people like Leigh for in the first place.
“It will also drown the height of the church, which has always stood out as a tall building amongst others.”
A decision on the plans must be reached by the council before the November 2 deadline.
Picture: Caption: Proposed Street Scene. Pic GA Architects
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