PLANS for a huge 14-storey block of flats on the old Churchills diner in Southend city centre are set to be approved.

Southend Council’s development control committee will decide on Wednesday whether to approve planning permission for 58 new homes on the site, in Tylers Avenue, which was Mangetout restaurant after Churchill’s closed.

It comes after plans for a five-storey block of 22 flats on the site of the former New Empire Theatre in nearby Alexandra Street were approved.

The development, also designed by Skarchitects, will consist of one, two and three storey apartments.

The site has been vacant since 2021, when the previous one and two-storey building was demolished, and is currently surrounded by grey hoarding.

As a member of the planning committee, Ron Woodley, Residents First councillor for Thorpe Ward, couldn’t comment on specific development but he has, in the past, suggested high rises be built in the city centre to cope with the growing need for housing.

He said: “Generally, the more we can build homes within the city centre, that helps the local businesses and shops.

“If they have to be apartments, that’s fine because we haven’t got the space in Southend for every home to have its own garden.

“It depends on the mix of the properties to make sure we are building homes for families rather than single individuals.”

Planning officers have recommended the plans are approved and stated it would benefit the “regeneration” of the city centre.

A report by planning officers said: “The principle of the development, including the provision of a tall building, the use of this land for a housing-led mixed use development, the housing mix and flood risk are acceptable.

“The proposed design and scale of the development would have an acceptable impact on the character and appearance of the site, the street scene and the wider surrounding area and the development would contribute to regeneration around within city centre.”

In their planning statement, Skarrchitects said: “The scale of the proposal creates an ambitious landmark for the city of Southend whilst providing high-levels of much needed housing.”

A financial contribution of £73,469 is required towards secondary education provision at Southchurch Academy Health Care.

A financial contribution of £27,400 is also requested for the benefit of patients of the Primary Care Network operating in the immediate area.