AN “EYESORE” empty building that is “crying out for development” will be transformed into 17 new flats in Leigh after winning unanimous backing from councillors earlier this week.

Southend Council's development control committee gave the go ahead for an application to demolish a former florists, Grey Gardens, in London Road, Leigh.

During the meeting, on Wednesday night, the boarded-up former florist was branded an “eyesore” and the committee backed the development despite concerns over a lack of parking.

Speaking at the meeting Alan Dear, Conservative councillor for Belfairs Ward, said: “This particular development is on my ward.

“It’s been an eyesore on London Road for many, many years so I do welcome this development.

“If I had got a concern it would be around parking. There are ten parking places for 17 apartments. There will be at least 17 cars there which will spill out on to the side road where there is massive parking stress at the moment but on balance I support the application.”

Applicant, Carlton Group Developments, says 20 per cent of the homes will be social housing.

Carole Mulroney, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh Ward, said: “This site has wanted redevelopment for a long time. Whilst the design is not my favourite, it’s similar to some others along that road in its form. The parking is a concern as I know how difficult it is to park round there especially as the church is immediately across the road.”

Richard Longstaff, Green Party councillor for Leigh Ward, said: “This has been a vacant site for many years and it’s been crying out for development. I think the design is well considered. The massing and the articulation of it is pleasing.

“I do share concerns with parking as it’s not adjacent to major parking hubs and there is a stress in Leigh. All in all I’m in favour of this. It’s a good quality scheme.”

A Section 106 agreement includes a contribution of £19,780 towards secondary education and an affordable housing financial contribution of £131,955.

All twelve councillors voted in favour of the scheme after being informed there would be additional support for management of the parking system.