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Why won't council won't listen to views on Elm Road plan?
6:00am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Local News
LEIGH Town Council says their views over the development of a prime development site have been ignored.
Angry Leigh councillors spoke out after most of their suggestions for the development Elm Road, which includes the police station, former town council offices, a house and Leigh Community Centre, were not considered by Southend Council.
The proposals, which went out for public consultation in April and May this year, involve removing two buildings – the town council office and the neighbouring private home - to open up the site for new homes, a redesigned car park and a public square.
Part of the work to enable this has already started with work underway to demolish the former Connexions building at the back of the site.
Richard Herbert, Leigh town councillor, put forward an alternative scheme with former town council chairman Carole Mulroney to make more of the community centre with an extension, and less housing.
He told the Echo: “As far as I’m concerned it is a missed opportunity. It’s going to be the only major development that takes place in Leigh in our lifetime.
“We’ve had blocks of flats but we have a chance to make something for the community and make it really vibrant. Leigh attracts professional people with money and we want a community that encourages them even more. “
This plan is very shortsighted.”
There have been some minor alterations to the design brief to placate some of the objectors, who include Leigh Town Council clerk Paul Beckerson representing the council and Leigh councillor Pat Holden.
Mrs Mulroney said: “We see the community centre and the site as the gateway to the town but their response is its on the cusp of being residential. We want to make the most of our imposing building.
“We’re encouraged by the fact its recognised the centre is there and thriving and we can still influence how a developer interprets the brief.”
Councillors on Southend Council’s place scrutiny committee will meet on October 7 to agree the council’s responses to representations made during the public consultation period on the draft brief, and to agree the proposed amendments so that it can progress through to Cabinet on November 5.
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