Nine new homes have been given the go ahead despite being on agricultural land.

Councillors on Southend Council’s development control committee approved the two-bedroom homes on undeveloped land near community allotments in Eastwoodbury Lane.

Despite the land being high grade agricultural land, councillors heard the plot was too small to be economically viable as farmland and the plot was not on green belt.

Previous applications to develop the land, which is currently covered in bramble and grass, have been refused because the space between 12 Eastwoodbury Lane and 1 Smallholdings would have been lost.

In the latest application the homes are set back.

St Laurence ward councillor Daniel Cowan nevertheless had concerns.

Speaking at the meeting yesterday, he said: “I can understand why the applicant would like to develop here.

"St Laurence is a very attractive ward to live in a build a family home and raise a family but I that’s where my understanding stops.

"I have far too many concerns about this development to support it in its current guise.

“There are two parking spaces per property which is policy compliant. I think policy doesn’t cover every situation but this is an area of hugely significant parking pressure at the best of times.

"The airport is reopening.

"Pre-covid when the airport was shipping out 2.5million passengers a year parking in the area was at a premium.

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"There just wasn’t any and my concern is if you are putting more property in the area it’s going to cause more problems and put undue pressure on the established community there.

"I can’t support this.”

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “It was last a small holding 70 years ago so that would indicate it wasn’t viable as a smallholding.

"I am concerned about the car parking spaces because how many spaces do we provide if two isn’t enough?

"It’s getting ridiculous now in what we are being expected to provide.

"From what I can see there is a cul-de-sac layout and quite a long entrance way and people that are driving up there to their houses.

"I’m not sure that they would go and park in surrounding roads to the extent that may be thought.

“I consider this a sustainable development. There’s a tremendous amount of tree planting involved.

"There’s heat pumps and electric vehicle charging and I can’t see a reason to refuse this.”

Councillors voted seven to one in favour of granting permission for the application.