A USED car showroom in Leigh could be knocked down and transformed into a block of flats... but that’s not going to happen according to the business’s manager.

Plans, submitted to Southend Council for the London Road site, propose demolishing the building currently occupied by Bransons Cars and House of Cars and replacing them with a four-storey block of 14 flats, and two commercial properties on the ground floor.

The properties would include three ‘affordable units’, two penthouse apartments and off-street parking to the rear.

However, Graham Roberts, manager of Bransons Cars, cast doubt on whether there is a serious intention to move forward with the plans – and denied his business was in trouble.

He claimed the owner of the site was just testing the water and has only submitted the planning application in a bid “to see what happens”.

He added: “This application was from the owner of the property who we all know well.

“He wanted to apply for planning permission to see what would happen and if he would get it.

“As planning permission lasts five years, he is not going to carry it any further unless we choose to leave the site.

“We have no plans to do that.

“It is not going to affect us as far as I can see.”

In response to Mr Roberts’s claims, Steve Kearny, director of Skarchitects, would only say: “The intention is to retain commercial uses on the ground floor”.

Plans submitted by the company Skarchitects, on behalf of the site owner, describe the development as an opportunity for “high quality contextually appropriate mixed-use redevelopment to further renew and regenerate the Leigh section of the A13 London Road”.

They go on to describe the business which currently occupies the site as having a “negative impact on the residential amenity of the neighbours”.

The proposals further note that the vehicle repair workshop which is attached to the showroom is in a “fairly poor state of repair” and “presents a negative image”.

The plans will now be assessed by Southend’s planning team.

Then they will go before the council’s Development Committee at a meeting planned for later this year.