PLANS to build in the car park of a historic former pub have been approved after a two-year battle by developers.

The former King Canute Pub, in Canvey Road, Canvey, is at the centre of the proposal, which will see a veterinary practice and two three-bedroom houses built, along with the conversion of the first floor of the main pub building into two flats.

The ground floor of the pub will be retained for retail use under the plans.

Four previous attempts to develop the site in two years emerged since the pub’s closure in May 2014, but each had not included any work on the pub’s main building.

Campaigners had expressed fears that development around the pub would ultimately see the iconic building, used as a safe haven for families fleeing the 1953 floods on the island, change beyond recognition.

However, the Castle Point Council’s planning committee imposed a condition that the facade of the building remained untouched, as the plans were unanimously approved.

Bill Sharp, Tory member of the planning committee, backed the plans and led the calls for the condition to be added. He said: “All of the previous elements from other applications have been resolved as best as they can.

“The area has a historical importance, it’s part of the heritage centre of St Katherine’s next door and the Dutch Cottage in Haven Road.

“I am supportive of this going through, but we need to add a condition which requires the developer to protect the historical shell of the building, particularly the frontage.”

“I would hate to see the building fail and fall away, as we did with the lighthouse by the Oysterfleet.”

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Indepedent Party, believes the project will improve the building’s appearance. He said: “I think the main concerns have been overcome now, and my main one is about the entrance of the pub.Hopefully the plan will make it a good site, the greenery at the front of the site is a disgrace. The verges are cut twice a year by the county council and Castle Point has to cough up for the rest.”