A FORMER music venue subsequently used as a drug farm will now be transformed into a housing estate.

Plans were officially approved on Tuesday to build 23 new homes on the site of The Belvedere, in Harding Elms Road, Billericay.

The site had been an entertainment venue, but closed in 2013 when an outline planning application was successfully submitted to transform it into an 82-bed care home.

However, the plan stalled and the venue became the location of a drugs farm where police uncovered 1,500 cannabis plants during a raid in 2014.

Seven people were arrested in March 2014 after police uncovered a huge drugs farm.

It was said at the time the huge haul was estimated to be worth more than £1million if the drugs were sold on the street.

Plans were discussed by Basildon’s planning committee in August last year, but officially approved on Tuesday with a letter sent to developers, Bidwell.

Approval was delayed as a section 106 agreement was made, including the provision of affordable housing and plans for two bus stops in the vicinity of the site.

While the plan to build a care home was given planning permission, the project failed to get off the ground and plans were resubmitted for a new housing estate to be built instead.

It will comprise of 11 apartments of varying sizes spread across two apartment buildings. Plus there will be 12 houses, which will be a mix of semi-detached and detached homes.

The report states that while the development is on green belt land, it would enhance the appearance of the site and return most of it to “green field condition”.