WETHERSPOON has launched a bid to build a 60-bed hotel on the car park of its Leigh pub.

The firm has submitted plans to Southend Council to build the hotel in The Elms car park, on London Road.

The application claims the car park is “underused”. If approved, use of the car park would be completely lost. Yet the applicant is claiming this can be overcome by the 1,200 pay to park car parking spaces available “within a 30 minute walk of the site” as well as considerable on street private car parking in the area. These claims have not gone down too well with locals.

Sue Lodge, 58, of London Road, said: “That car park always seems fairly busy to me so that doesn’t add up. “It is quite concerning the application says there is all this parking in the area, if the hotel is fully booked there could be close to 100 cars, where will they be parked?”

Simon Austin, 45, of Leighton Avenue, added: “Parking around here is a nightmare as it is. This can’t be allowed to happen.”

The new hotel would be linked to The Elms through a new walkway. The application comes at the same time as work gets underway on the redevelopment of the Grand Hotel, off Leigh’s Broadway, which will include a wine bar, health club and a restaurant, plus 18 luxury flats, with 19 parking space.

The Elms application said: “The car park adjacent to the existing public house building is underused. The applicant can see an opportunity to develop the site of the car park as a new hotel providing 60 bedrooms.

“This will generate increased commercial activity, bringing visitors and custom to the public house, adjacent businesses, and Leigh as a whole. “Construction of the hotel will employ local tradesmen and suppliers, and when complete could provide employment for up to 10 persons, throughout the working week.

“JD Wetherspoon has become very successful at making good commercial use of underused land and buildings in its estate to create hotel bedrooms.”