WORK is set to start on the demolition of a derelict nursing home dating back to 1880 after plans were given the green light to build a new luxury retirement complex. 

Developer McCarthy Stone unveiled plans last year for the Edwardian care home at 20 Chalkwell Avenue to be demolished and replaced with a three-storey building of retirement homes.

Hoardings have now been placed around the former Laburnums nursing home – which closed in 2018 – and Dedman Gray, which marketed the property, has confirmed provisional work is going ahead before demolition begins. 

The building was sold to McCarthy Stone for close to £2 million, and managing director Mike Gray confirmed works in preparation of the demolition and redevelopment are underway.

He said: “Having finally obtained planning consent, the property will now be taken forward with carefully planned luxury retirement homes overlooking Chalkwell Park.”

Chalkwell Ward Residents’ Association had lamented the loss of a 143-year-old landmark building “which is important to local character on this key route”. However, Mr Gray insisted it would prove too “cost-prohibitive” to carry out a full refurbishment plan “to the right standard”.

Echo: How the retirement complex was set to look in McCarthy Stone's plans last yearHow the retirement complex was set to look in McCarthy Stone's plans last year (Image: Rosemary White Design)


Tony Cox, leader of Southend Council, said: “It is good to hear and will be good to see retirement places coming available.

“No one wants to see a derelict building.

“So, it is good it will be re-purposed for a good use.

“I am sure it will help many residents as there is certainly a demand and need for this.” 

A financial contribution of £212,519 was secured in lieu of onsite provision of affordable housing, as well as £3,718.17 towards biodiversity mitigation, management, protection or education.

The retirement development will have 11 one-bedroom homes and 16 two-bed apartments, with 16 of the 27 properties having a private balcony or terrace.

The plans also include a communal garden and reception area, a communal lounge, guest suite, scooter store and refuse store. At least one resident in each flat will be required to be aged 60-plus.

A statement on McCarthy Stone’s website says: “This beautiful retirement living development will be situated in a lovely location in Chalkwell with views over the extensive greenery of Chalkwell Park. 

“The retirement housing is just a short walk to Chalkwell beach, the high street, pubs, eateries, a library, a chemist and several social clubs. With regular buses and Chalkwell station close by, it’s also easy to get around the local area and to London and beyond.”