A RELIGIOUS charity has unveiled another attempt to convert a historic pub into a place of worship and community centre.

The South Essex Islamic Trust has re-submitted fresh plans for the former Barge Inn, in High Road, Vange.

It comes after the trust withdrew its plan after Basildon Council raised concerns about noise impact and parking at the site.

Now, the charity says it’s altered its proposals so no development or alterations will take place to the site.

But Kerry Smith, Independent deputy council leader, is not convinced.

He said: “We have other religious community halls in the borough and they suffer issues with parking and it would be the same with the old Barge Inn site.

“I think the parking issues would be chronic if this plan goes ahead, if there is a big religious event people could come from miles away and parking would be an issue.

“I think the trust should put the site back up for sale and agree this will not work here.

“I’d like to see a pub or restaurant there and don’t see issues with parking if it was used for this.”

Residents have called for some kind of development and improvement after years of the site being derelict.

Pauline Coggsworth, 71, of Vange said: “I can see the parking concerns, but I think a community centre could work well there.

“I think the parking issues would apply to whatever goes there, we need something to bring the site back to use and not let it rot any more.”

A spokesman for the applicant said the plans are just a change of use and without any planned development or alterations to the site or building, and the applicant hopes the council will see this as fit for its approval.

The trust purchased the inn and began fundraising for £250,000 to cover the full cost of the site last year. It was sold for £450,000 at auction by Savills in September, for more than double the £200,000 guide price.

It has been empty for about five years after it shut in 2015. Historians believe the building could be up to 400-years-old.

It was owned by Geraldine Evans, and her family ran the pub for 70 years.