SOUTHEND United chairman Ron Martin has called on the council to approve the Fossetts Farm stadium in July, but the council claims it needs more time.

The planning application for the 21,000-seat stadium complex was submitted in April 2017 and since then it has been plagued with setbacks, with the latest coming last month when the council called for an extra six months to scrutinise it.

But Mr Martin has said it would be “reasonable” for the council to discuss the plans by the development committee in July.

Speaking to the BBC he said the delay had been due to council officers ensuring everything is in place to reduce the chance of it being challenged.

And he admitted he had not imagined more than two years would have passed without planning approval.

A spokesman for Southend Council has said they cannot say whether July would be realistic because Mr Martin still needs to address all the necessary concerns.

The spokesman said: “Through the planning process, the council has raised a number of significant issues with the applicant that still require their further consideration and resolution.

“We have a positive and professional relationship with the applicant and are in ongoing contact with them to help resolve these outstanding matters and will continue to work with them in a proactive way.

“The application will go to development control committee when it is in a position to be considered, but at this stage it is not in that position.

“It is not possible for the council to predict when that will be, because it is dependent on the resolution of the outstanding matters.”

The council has repeatedly requested extensions beyond the time limit for when applications are supposed to be discussed.

A spokesman previously claimed it was important everything was in place.

The proposed multi-million-pound development includes a 21,000-seat stadium on Fossetts Farm, off Eastern Avenue, as well as homes, shops, restaurants and a cinema.