SEVENTEEN-STOREY blocks of flats planned for the town centre should only have one entrance to make homeowners feel safer, a developer has told a planning appeal.

A representative for developer Orwell said the designs with fewer entry doors will help with security of its proposed development on land at Market Square, Basildon.

A planning appeal over the 492 flats, set in three blocks up to 17-storeys high, is being held with Basildon Council and developer Orwell.

The developer representative said: “There would be no tailgating or security issues with one entrance.

“Residents will be taking the most direct routes to their homes when they enter the buildings. The design offers an interesting counterbalance to Brooke House in the town centre.

“It also creates landmarks in the right part of the town for modern times. It will complement and fit in well with the surrounding townscape.

“It reflects the art of the town and the history of this in Basildon too and is very responsible and well proportioned.

“I think it will be an enjoyable journey for the residents from the entrance to their homes.”

The plans were previously accepted by councillors on two separate occasions earlier this year - before being swiftly rejected by the Conservatives.

They previously described the homes as “rabbit cages”

due to their fears over the size.

On Tuesday, Neil Deely, an architect called in by the council as an expert witness, said the design of the homes on land at Market Square, Basildon was “poor”.

Speaking yesterday the developer’s representative added: “The journey and layout will force a sense of community that is really at the heart and will be of significant benefit.

“When residents walk through the gardens they will stop and see people they know and chat so I can only see the positive with this.

“There is no disadvantage or inconvenience at all, if people have to walk further to get into the building it will offer chance for some extra exercise.”

The development would replace the Moon on the Square pub, Greggs and a Subway.

The hearing continues.