Plans to convert a seafront gym into a shop and flats have been given the go ahead.

Planning permission has been given to expand and change the use of 14-15 Eastern Esplanade in Southend.

The proposals will see the store and boundary wall on the ground floor demolished and change of use from gymnasium to part retail.

Two flats would also be installed on the ground and first floors.

Another level would be added to the two-storey building to make space for a third flat.

Two further houses would then be built at the back of the site, along with bin and cycle storage.

Each of the five new homes created would be given a parking space and it is claimed they would be at the “lower end” of the housing market.

The applicant argued the proposals are a good use of the site and stated a lack of outside space for residents such as a garden was helped by the fact Southchurch Park is 600 metres away.

No details were given as to what business would occupy the retail space on the ground floor.

Southend Council’s planning officers said the proposals would not impact on neighbouring buildings and would help add to housing supply in the town.