A WAR of words has erupted over plans to convert a historic pub into a religious centre - with the council and a charity behind the proposals butting heads.

South Essex Islamic Trust plans to develop the former Barge Inn, in High Road, Vange, into a culture centre, but Basildon Council is not assured concerns over noise and parking will be dealt with.

But the trust says it has done all it can and handed over more than enough information for the council to make a decision.

Aidan McGurran, Labour councillor for Vange, warned if delays continue, the former pub is likely to end up as “a huge block of flats”.

He said: “I think the trust has given a lot of information so far and I’m hoping they will be able to meet the council’s calls and then it can move to a committee.

“We need a chance for the council’s committee to see the details and also give residents the chance to have their say too. I think the trust is frustrated and feels it has done enough but the resolution is easy they should come up with more information if possible and then get it to committee.

“We need to get this sorted for the community and the trust and the state of the building is getting worse too - it looks horrible.

“If it doesn’t go ahead it’ll be a huge block of flats and that’ll cause much more problems.”

A council spokesman said: “We have requested further information from the applicant about noise and parking matters, and we are awaiting a response from the applicant’s agent.

“Once this is received we’ll make a decision about the application.”

A spokesman for the charity said: “In this case the applicant submitted a comprehensive noise assessment, together with a transport statement and travel plan as part of the application submission.

“Additional information was requested by the council and was provided. The applicant has to date provided all the information requested by the council to be able to make a decision.”

South Essex Islamic Trust purchased the inn and began fundraising for £250,000 to help cover the full cost of the site.

The old pub was sold for £450,000 in September, for more than double the £200,000 guide price.