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PLANS to build new family homes and offices on a Shoebury park have been submitted to Southend Council.

Garrison Developments has applied to build 172 two, three and four-bedroom houses and office blocks up to four storeys high, on Old Gunners Park, off Ness Road.

The land was earmarked for business and commercial use when the Shoebury Garrison masterplan was drawn up in 2004, but Garrison Developments, which bought the 18-acre site in 2010, nowwants it for housing.

Rumours about the development surfaced last year, but have now been sent to the council for consideration.

Paul Denney, technical director for the Chelmsford-based firm, said: “This application is the result of significant consultation with the council and local residents, who have made clear their preference for a residential-led development, rather than largescale industrial use for the site.

“It will mean new family houses with gardens, rather than warehouses and HGVs.

“The proposals will also see a large area of public open space, much bigger than you would normally see and more appropriate commercial property which provides new office space for small and medium-sized businesses to start up in Shoebury and create jobs.”

The area, which is bigger than 13 football pitches, is divided into two sites.

Three-and-a-half acres of grassland between the playing fields of Hinguar Primary School and Magazine Road, would hold 55 homes.

A larger, 20-acre site, bordered by Ness Road to the east, Campfield Road to the north and New Barge Pier Road to the west and south, would be divided in two.

The southern half would hold 117 homes and the northern half, on which Southend Council is storing 44,000 tonnes of mud earmarked for the controversial Shoebury Seawall, would hold 15,000sq m of office space in two, three and four-storey blocks.

The homes, which would be similar in style to new properties built on the Garrison, with offstreet parking and gardens, would be accessed via entrances already laid out, off New Barge Pier Road and Magazine Road.

The homes and businesses would also be raised to protect them from flooding that occurs roughly every 200 years.

About 4.5-acres of landscaped public space would be created around a drainage ditch to the west of the site near Ness Road to protect the area, which is prone to flooding from the River Shoe, as well as the sea.

The area south of New Barge Pier Road and the Gunnery Hill development would remain as a nature reserve.

Mr Denney said: “This application is about asking the council to consider the principle of this alternative use, instead of industrial sheds and warehouses.

“It gives residents reassurances about the number of homes that would be proposed, how vehicles would access the site and the amount of public open space.

“No construction will take place until further detailed planning applications are submitted.”