Plans have been drawn up to demolish a garden centre and replace it with a new housing estate made up of 16 homes.

Kent Property Investments Ltd have submitted an application to Rochford District Council to demolish Fairway Garden Centre, in Hullbridge Road, Rayleigh.

If approved, the demolition would make way for the homes - which will range from two-bedroom to four-bedroom detached houses.

The estate will be accessed via a new roadway from Hullbridge Road and each home will be given its own private parking space, as well as a back garden or yard.

Developers have said the design and layout of the estate provides a character that is sensitive to the surrounding area, which includes green belt land.

The design and access statement states: “The site layout incorporates an area of public open space which together with the low density housing will create a green, open space.

“Where possible, the parking spaces will be discretely positioned to reduce the visual impact and retain a more open and rural character.”

The developers believe that the reduced size of the housing estate when compared to the garden centre will enhance the area.

But the application has reignited concerns that there will not be enough infrastructure to support the additional homes due to other major housing developments in the area.

Chairman of the Rayleigh Action Group, Richard Lambourne, said: “It’s great to see a small application like this.

“These are the type that the council should have been approving in the past instead of the ones for hundreds of houses.

“The council should have allowed for the natural growth of the town through small applications here and there to allow for the development of the infrastructure to go along with it.”

Mr Lambourne fears more houses will put pressure on an already-struggling infrastructure system.

Back in 2015, the council approved plans for 500 homes to be built on green belt land south of Rawreth Lane, which is near to this proposed development.

The project will provide a new primary school, GP surgery and outdoor sports facility, as well as retail units - but Mr Lambourne fears it will not be enough to mitigate the added strain.

He added: “Obviously we need new houses built but we also need better infrastructure in the area first.

“The proposed site is near Rawreth Lane and Watery Lane which are gridlocked every single day.

“If I was looking to buy a house in the area, I would not buy one there simply because of the traffic.”

The plans are currently subject to a period of public consultation which will end on Tuesday, June 13.

They will then go before the council’s development committee and a decision is due by August.