Plans have been approved for “urgently needed” accommodation for homeless people.

Castle Point Council approved the plans to build the home on land off Hatley Gardens, Benfleet, at the recent development control committee.

The multi-accommodation home would contain nine flats, and be used for short term accommodation for people who would otherwise be homeless or in bed-and-breakfast accommodation paid for by the council.

A host of concerns were raised by residents to the plans, mainly focussing on fears over a rise in crime and antisocial behaviour.

In relation to those concerns, planning officers said: “Concern over crime and antisocial behaviour are based on unfounded assumptions about the behaviour of the future occupants of the building.”

Residents also raised issue with a loss of parking, but the development proposes one parking space for each unit plus a further space which for use by the on-site member of staff, which meets the council’s standards.

The land, owned by the council, is in a derelict condition with some items such as old windows and doors, rubbish skips and a storage container on it.

The site was allocated for development in the latest local plan, and is surrounded by a mix of residential and commercial use.

In the recommendation for approval, planning officers said: “The proposal would provide an urgently needed facility for the council to house people on a temporary basis currently met by bed-and-breakfast accommodation away from the area.

“This is a benefit which carries significant weight.

“The proposal introduces a form of development with a different character from that of its surroundings inasmuch as it would not have a direct road frontage but nonetheless complies with the council’s residential design guidance.

“Officers are of the opinion that the planning balance is in favour of allowing the development, and recommend that planning permission be granted.”

The plans were approved at the meeting on Monday.