SHOCKED residents have spoken out against plans to build 32 homes on the site of a former convent.

Plans have been submitted to Castle Point Council, seeking permission to demolish a former convent, Walsingham House, on Lionel Road, Canvey.

If approved, a new estate would be created on the site, with a mix of house sizes, backing on to St Joseph’s School, on Lionel Road.

The convent on Canvey was originally set up in the 1920s by Anglican Nuns after the war, during which it was requisitioned by the war department.

After the First World War, the Sisters of Mercy came to the island and took over the old convent.

They set up a school on the site, and dedicated it to St Joseph.

The convent, as we know it today, was built in 1971.

Walsingham House is a large two storey structure in the centre of the plot, surrounded by gardens.

Residents have been far from impressed with the proposal.

And with fears mounting on the island surrounding other older buildings, including the Paddocks community centre, residents have been left to question if any of the island’s history is being preserved.

Anne Duff, 64, of Urmond Road, said: “I only live around the corner, and one of my friends called me to say she had spotted a post on Facebook about a planning application and she couldn’t believe it. “I checked on the website and I was so shocked. “I don’t know too much about the history, but I know it does have a lot of history and people look at it quite fondly.

“When people talk about Canvey’s history they always mention the obvious ones, like the great flood, but people also talk about the convent. In many ways it was a community on the island and that should be remembered.

“It does seem to be one thing after the other, more buildings being demolished and more homes being built.

“It doesn’t really seem right, you would think the island’s history should be preserved.”

The application has been submitted by the Trustees of the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy.

The application stated: “As a previously developed site located very close to the centre of the town, the proposal will represent a very sustainable form of development.

“It will make a valuable contribution to housing supply.”

An application was submitted to Castle Point Council at the end of November last year, and validated on Monday.

The plans will now be assessed by council planning officers who will make recommendations to the planning committee who will vote on the plans.