Empty Benfleet shopping parade needs to be sorted

Eyesore – councillor Wendy Goodwin looks at the site in Benfleet High Road which has been left empty

Eyesore – councillor Wendy Goodwin looks at the site in Benfleet High Road which has been left empty

First published in News

FED UP residents want a developer to push ahead with rebuilding a shopping parade which has become an “eyesore”after seven years of inaction.

Five businesses along High Road, Benfleet, were forced to close or relocate after developer Linatrop was granted permission to tear down the shopping parade to build four new shops and 13 flats with an underground car park.

The plans were originally approved in 2007, and then amended in 2013 to increase the number of shops to five.

However, councillors and residents are upset work is not progressing and the empty shops have been surrounded by unsightly hoarding.

Wendy Goodwin, Castle Point councillor for Boyce ward, said: “People in Benfleet need these shops, particularly at this end of the High Road.

“A lot of people were quite upset when they closed and everyone wants to see the parade up-and-running again.

“It is such an eyesore at the moment, it really is so unattractive.

“I know they have started knocking some things down so hopefully we will start to see something happen.”

The company had previously applied to build 15 flats instead of 13, prompting more than 1,000 people to sign a petition and the then MP, Bob Spink, to raise the issue in the House of Commons.

However, the plans were approved on their third try in August 2007, after amendments were made.

Bill Russell, of High Road, Benfleet, said: “There was a nice little newsagents there I used to pop into occasionally, but of course it shut with the others.

“I know they want to build some flats there and such, but I think everyone is just wondering why it is taking so long.

“It certainly doesn’t look very nice.”

The buildings are more than 50 years old and used to be home to a newsagent, physiotherapist, Unicef charity shop and a beauty salon.

Jeffrey Stanley, deputy leader of the council, said: “The shops that used to be there were really popular and now it is an eyesore.

“The hoardings put around there are disgraceful. They look as if they have been knocked around a bit.

“It is completely unacceptable as it is in such a prominent position.

It’s about time the developer starting building what they’ve got permission for.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We have spoken with the agents and are trying to encourage the developer to try to clear up the site.”

The Echo was unable to contact the developer for comment.

Comments (7)

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7:33am Wed 12 Feb 14

Expat Of says...

All too often Development Companies allow their properties to become an eyesore so they get the Planning permission they really want! I hope this is not the case here. If it is, I hope the Council stands firm!
All too often Development Companies allow their properties to become an eyesore so they get the Planning permission they really want! I hope this is not the case here. If it is, I hope the Council stands firm! Expat Of
  • Score: 5

10:25am Wed 12 Feb 14

Howard Cháse says...

Went downhill when Spec Cycles and the greengrocers left.
Went downhill when Spec Cycles and the greengrocers left. Howard Cháse
  • Score: -1

10:28am Wed 12 Feb 14

rayleigh123 says...

I once worked for a developor, they would get planning permission for - what the council wanted - they then pull everything down, fence it off and leave it in a general mess.
After everybody complained they said it was not financially viable to do what they had planning permission for, but if they could change it ( to what they really wanted )they could start straight away.

Standard procedure - saves the brown envelope

.
I once worked for a developor, they would get planning permission for - what the council wanted - they then pull everything down, fence it off and leave it in a general mess. After everybody complained they said it was not financially viable to do what they had planning permission for, but if they could change it ( to what they really wanted )they could start straight away. Standard procedure - saves the brown envelope . rayleigh123
  • Score: 12

11:38am Wed 12 Feb 14

Howard Cháse says...

All housing no shops is what they will probably end up as.
All housing no shops is what they will probably end up as. Howard Cháse
  • Score: 4

11:56am Wed 12 Feb 14

InTheKnowOk says...

Gone are the days of the local greengrocers, butchers, newsagents and bakers all in one high street, supermarkets wiped the lot out as the little shops couldn't compete ...
Gone are the days of the local greengrocers, butchers, newsagents and bakers all in one high street, supermarkets wiped the lot out as the little shops couldn't compete ... InTheKnowOk
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Chris Flunk says...

InTheKnowOk wrote:
Gone are the days of the local greengrocers, butchers, newsagents and bakers all in one high street, supermarkets wiped the lot out as the little shops couldn't compete ...
That's very odd because Benfleet has a greengrocer, butcher, newsagent, bakery, fishmonger etc. all on one high street. Perhaps no one thought to tell them of their demise.
[quote][p][bold]InTheKnowOk[/bold] wrote: Gone are the days of the local greengrocers, butchers, newsagents and bakers all in one high street, supermarkets wiped the lot out as the little shops couldn't compete ...[/p][/quote]That's very odd because Benfleet has a greengrocer, butcher, newsagent, bakery, fishmonger etc. all on one high street. Perhaps no one thought to tell them of their demise. Chris Flunk
  • Score: 3

8:26am Thu 13 Feb 14

You'dfeelbetterforknowingthat says...

Make a nice location for the Benfleet ALDI
Make a nice location for the Benfleet ALDI You'dfeelbetterforknowingthat
  • Score: 1

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