PLANS for a “brutalist” 14-storey block of flats in Southend city centre have been thrown out by councillors who slammed the design of proposals.

Southend’s development control committee rejected the plans for 58 new homes on the site, in Tylers Avenue, which was once Churchills Diner before becoming the Mangetout restaurant.

Councillors heard an independent review had determined the scheme would not be commercially viable if a number of affordable homes were included in the scheme.

Councillors raised concerns over a total lack of parking provision and the loss of a mature London plane tree.

The tree had already been earmarked for removal on highway safety grounds.

Tricia Cowdrey, Residents First councillor for Kursaal Ward, addressed the committee. She said: “There is no car parking for the potentially 58 units and possibly upwards of 164 residents.

“There will be no benefit in terms of affordable housing as this requirement has been removed from this application. My main concern however, is the assumption that the mature plane tree, around 150 years old and 18 metres tall outside the development on Chichester Road is to be removed.”

Ms Cowdrey added: “Rather being viewed as an asset, this beautiful tree which has served as an asset for many years is being treated as an inconvenience.”

Matt Dent, Labour councillor for Kursaal Ward, said: “Time and again we lose out on affordable and social housing because we just let developers get away with claiming they can’t afford it.

“They absolutely will make money on this including affordable housing. They might not make as much but we have these policies for a reason. There is a serious need for affordable housing in this city.”

Skarchitects, designed the building for developer Vikesh Kotecha and the outline planning application had been recommended for approval.

Councillors were told they had the right to reject the design,which was described by one councillor as Brutulist - a minimalist, concrete style of architecture prevalent in the 1950s.

Anne Jones, Labour councillor for Westborough Ward, said: “It’s a very monolithic, unexciting and Brutalist type of structure, very, very big. It’s not in keeping with the style character of the High Street which this does link immediately to.

“Chichester Road was built as an amenity road bit we’ve allowed design and building in this road just to be that, far too simplistic with very blank buildings. If we are developing our city to be a much more vibrant and exciting place to live we need to do better with design.”

Councillors rejected the scheme 11 votes to two.