A SECOND World War pillbox could be lost to make way new homes or a park and ride scheme, councillors fear.

The concrete guard post, stationed in land north of the A127, was used to spot enemy paratroopers during the war against Nazi Germany in the 1940s.

Tory councillors now fear the pillbox could be gone forever, as plans to build 90 homes, an electric vehicle charging centre, or a park-and-ride scheme on the land gather pace.

They believe the look-out could either be bulldozed or built around and forgotten as a landmark.


Dave McGlone, Tory councillor for St Laurence ward, said: “It’s one of our fears that it’s going to have to go if the homes are built.

“The infrastructure needed will have an impact on it too.

“We will fight it tooth and nail.

“We have to preserve our history. The pillbox needs some maintenance too. It’s all overgrown and you can’t get into it.

“The council should be able to give it the care it needs.”

The pillbox, which sits in the middle of the land, was not used to store weapons during the war.

Both Tory councillors for St Laurence, Steve Buckley and Mr McGlone, recently visited the pillbox.

Mark Flewitt, former deputy mayor of Southend who joined them on the visit, added: “We were able to stand on top and look around.

“The pillbox is one of only a handful remaining in Southend.

“I could not help gazing towards the airport runway and reflecting on the immense connections this site has to the past.

“Our walk reminded us of how important it is to maintain the historic connections to our past.

“The pillbox was built in the Second World War to ward off any German paratrooper landings, whereas other ones built, around 30, had different uses, such as next to main roads to combat a ground invasion.”

A £200,000 feasibility study will now determine the best use of the 27-acre land, which is set to be vacated by a farmer.

Council homes could also be built near the runway, which has been branded “immoral”.

There are also plans to build a Tesco off Nestuda Way.