CAMPAIGNERS claimed people power had won after a developer pulled out of building a block of flats at the 11th hour.

Yesterday, councillors were set to rule over the planning application at a car dealer site on the corner of London Road and Darlinghurst Grove, in Leigh.

However, Emex International pulled out on the eve of the meeting, with planning officials at Southend Council recommending the plan be turfed out over concerns over its size and design.

Residents feared the four storey building, incorporating 38 flats and a shop or office, was too big and out of synch with the area.

James Courtenay, Tory councillor for Blenheim Park, said: “It’s good news the developer has listened and, hopefully, it will be in touch with a more appropriate proposal.

“I’m not against development on that site, because it does need regeneration, just not on the scale that was proposed.

“But I’m delighted my action and the Echo publishing the story has forced the developer into a rethink.”

Locals also raised concerns about the junction of London Road and Darlinghurst Grove, claiming it was an accident blackspot.

A total of 58 parking spaces were proposed for the 38 flats, split into three and four storey blocks. The highest homes in the nearby roads are two flights up, leaving residents annoyed by the scale of the development proposed.

The move also means a reprieve for Evolution Gym as ti was under threat if Emex International was given the green light to build the homes, which would have been a mix of one, two, and three bed properties.

A 49-year-old London Road resident, who only wanted to give his name as Michael, said: “It seemed like they were just looking to maximise profit so I’m pleased they have gone away to think about it.

“I was confident the council would reject the plan. We need something more in keeping with the area. I would like to see the site developed, with my ideal a few bungalows. We’ve got a million and one flats around here.’’

Developer: We want to get it right

THE developer behind the flats plan says it wants time to get the proposals right.

Emex International refused to say whether a new application would be smaller in size, and claimed a commercial premises would always be at the bottom of the development.

Their officials will now go back into discussions with Southend Council plannners to move forward with the application. 

The authority’s planning chiefs recommended it be turned down on the grounds of size and appearance. Shelley Horban, office manager at Emex International, based in Westcliff, said: “We have withdrawn the application because we want to get it right.

“There is no point putting in planning applications that are likely to be rejected .

“We have worked really hard with this one ,but it has been a bit of a nightmare.’’

“We are obliged to have a commercial unit at the bottom. There is one there already.

“The issues residents have about the site is not something planning officials raised with us.”