AFFORDABLE homes will again be part of an ambitious housing development in Southend after councillors refused to let the developer remove them from a planning application.

Plans for the £100million Marine Plaza development were hindered earlier this month when the developer’s bid to make several amendments to their planning obligations – including the removal of all 84 affordable homes – was refused.

Inner London Group, the company behind the development, claimed that the changes were needed because plans had become “financially unviable” due to increased costs.

The firm has now submitted fresh amendments with the affordable homes back in and changes focusing primarily on a new timeline for monetary contributions - known as section 106 agreements.

This will usually see developers agree to give a set amount of money to the council for infrastructure improvements, including roads, education and health care.

Inner London Group was not querying the amount of money it will pay – which includes £160,334 in educational contributions, £40,000 for pedestrian signs and £10,000 off site planting – but when the money would be paid.

The new terms have been recommended for approval by planning officer Amanda Rogers ahead of the council’s development committee on July 4.

The report reads: “Since submission, the applicant has now made a more favourable proposal in respect of the education contribution in the interests of simplicity.

“However, the proposal to make the remaining traffic/highway related contributions on completion of Phase 2 was not considered acceptable.

“Sufficient time must be allowed after payment for the council to coordinate and advertise any highway changes that maybe required.”

She notes that approval should be given because the developer has provided “sufficient justification” for changes to be made to their planning obligations.

Councillor Mark Flewitt of St Laurence Ward said: “If this reinstatement of affordable homes is accepted by my colleagues on the development committee then I am very pleased because this shows the strength of having a public consultation and councillor input.

“If something is not acceptable, my colleagues can ask the applicant to think again.

“It would appear they have, and if the affordable homes are included again this may well be agreed.”

Larry Fenttiman, a director of Inner London Group, called the planning officer’s recommendation “good news” for the development.

He added: “These amendments are mainly just a bit of housekeeping and are not going to stop us moving forward.

“Our initial enabling works started a few weeks ago but this is a large project and construction is expected to go on for five years.”