WORRIED neighbours are fearful for the future of a historic cottage after it was sold.

The Moorings, in EssexWay, is one of the oldest buildings in Benfleet, believed to date back to 1621.

However, its future is in doubt after previous owner, Ted Cook, died earlier this year and the property was left empty.

The building, which is not listed, was sold to a builder who residents believe plans to demolish it to replace it with a new, detached house.

One man, who lives near to the cottage, said he has spoken to the builder who, he says, confirmed plans to knock it down.

He said: “The builder is a really nice man, but finds it will be too expensive to keep the house as it is.

“He believes it will be cheaper to take the building down and build a new one, than to repair what is there.”

Denise Giddins, 62, of Essex Way, believes Castle Point Council should have helped Mr Cook maintain his home. She said: “It really is a shame.

The building should not be demolished, it is a piece of history.

“I think the council should have played a bigger part in helping Ted maintain the building. He became ill and couldn’t do it alone.

“Maybe if it had helped, it wouldn’t need to be demolished.”

No planning application has yet been submitted, but Carol Hearn, 70, who lives in nearby Grosvenor Road, is worried history will be destroyed.

Her husband, Graham, 70, added: “It really should not be demolished, but at the same time, you need to maintain the building. It’s a difficult one.

“But we don’t want it to be taken down.”

Dave Blackwell, leader of Canvey Independent Party, said: “I was notified about the issue after a resident sent me an email about it. It is a sad situation.”

Benfleet-based estate agents, Diggins&Cross confirmed the building had been sold, but did not reveal who it had been sold to.

The Echo attempted to contact the new owner, but they did not respond by the time it went to press.