THE latest bid for a high rise block of flats on a site which has been empty for more than a decade has been revealed.

Developer Julia MacKay Properties aims to build the six-storey block of 110 flats at 3 Runwell Road, Wickford.

If agreed, there would be 32 one-bed homes, 64 two-bed homes and 14-two bed maisonettes with a ground and first floor car park for 121 parking spaces.

Planning permission had already been granted at the site previously, but those living nearby said nothing has happened for a decade.

The site was previously used for car dealership businesses and is close to Wickford town centre.

Resident Clare Gregory, 46, said: “With every new owner of the site comes a revised planning application to try and maximise the profits of the developer but what about the residents who will end up having to live with the building forever?

“I am opposed to the lack of infrastructure to support more residents.

“We appreciate something needs to be built on the plot that has stood empty for over 12 years but it should be built as per the original plan approved in 2006 by appeal.

“Planning laws are weak in this situation and the owner will in essence ‘land bank’ until the numbers add up for them. Meanwhile the poor residents of Wickford have to look at a derelict site.”

The site was subject to a previous planning application for 84 flats with ground-floor parking which was refused permission by Basildon Council in August 2006.

The developer says the latest plan is no larger than that agreed for 84 homes as that plan included shops space on the ground floor but that this has been scrapped in the latest plans with homes on the ground floor. 

The council refused the plans due to concerns about harm to the character of the area, overlooking, noise or disturbance to neighbours, overshadowing or over-dominance; and traffic danger or congestion.

In May 2007, an appeal was lodged against this decision and developer Explore Living was granted planning permission for the development in November 2008, on grounds that it made various financial contributions.

The land has since been sold.

Basildon Council is expected to make a decision on the last bid for flats on the site by Thursday, August 20.

Rob MacKay of Julia MacKay Properties said: "The building approved in May 2007 comprised 84 apartments and 12,800 sq ft of commercial space on the ground floor which our research using local commercial property expert agents has shown is no longer viable in this location and there is no sense in building something that is not viable.

"In our planning application we have therefore changed the ground floor into more new homes and improved the car parking and we have also made a few changes to the space distribution within the upper floors ending up with 110 new homes in total, an increased level of car parking and all of this achieved within the envelope of the existing approved building.

"Demand for apartments in Wickford located within a short walk of the railway station, town centre and bus services is proving to be high even in these difficult times and we are confident our planning application makes the very best use of the site, fulfilling a demand that cannot at the moment anyway be satisfied elsewhere in the town."