FURIOUS Genesis Housing Association tenants are fighting the demolition of a Southend estate, 34 years after it was built.

About 40 residents from Alexandra Court, in Baxter Avenue, met at the EpicQuest centre on Saturday to discuss the threat to their homes and community.

The meeting was organised by teacher Brenda Phillips, who has lived in Alexandra Court since 1983.

She said: “Genesis are treating us with contempt.

"They haven’t talked to us about their plans, but already some residents have been told they’ll have to move out, with no information about why, when or where they’ll be moved to.

"It’s as though we’re just pawns on a chessboard.”

It is common knowledge that there is ambitious plans to regenerate the immediate area, including Genesis Housing Association’s plans to tear down 250 homes currently let at social rent levels.

It has been suggested that they will then rebuild the area without guaranteeing that current residents will be able to return.

Southend councillor David Norman said: “Many other councillors and I are totally opposed to the Genesis plans. We have a huge housing problem in Southend. Genesis wants to demolish social housing at a time when we need more. We’ll support the tenants of Baxter Avenue to save their homes and community.”

The Echo has recently reported on the significant problems with antisocial behaviour which have blighted Southend’s Elizabeth Tower, leading to residents campaigning for the housing association to make the building liveable again.

Glyn Robbins, housing officer and Unite union campaigner, said: “Housing Associations like Genesis are becoming more like private property developers every day. But tenants are fighting back and demanding an end to the gravy train. My union will support them all the way.”

A planning application is yet to be submitted for the proposed plans.

Mark Flewitt, councillor for housing, planning and sustainability, said: “I’m not permitted to pre-determine an application.

“All I can say is the residents should of course ensure their objections are clear and put to the relevant committee.

"They should have someone to speak for them when the application is raised during the meeting. Until a housing application is put forward it doesn’t reach me. The best bet is for them to speak with their ward councillor and make sure all their concerns are represented.”

A spokesman for Genesis Housing Association said: “We are engaging very closely with residents on the regeneration proposals via meetings, surveys, letters and events.

"We are taking all feedback on board and happy to discuss their concerns and queries.

"Residents will be kept informed throughout, and the process is at a very early stage.”