DEMOLITION work has finally begun on a “derelict eyesore” which has been surrounding by hoardings for three years.

Plans for 29 flats on the corner of West Street, Rochford, were approved in 2021 and aimed to revitalise “the gateway to Rochford” to provide an attractive entrance to the town.

Previously, the site was occupied by a car wash and plans for the new block of flats were welcomed as providing “much-needed” housing in the area.

Work has now started to demolish the car wash ahead of construction getting underway.

Rochford South councillor, Mike Steptoe, said: “The site was becoming a derelict eyesore, the reason for the delay was because a business was there that needed to be demolished.

“It was a garage for many years, it was a Toyota dealership many years ago and there was concern about the listed building next to it. There was some concern about the effects on that building.

“All of this has added to the timescale, and it will smarten up the area. If you think about it, it is a gateway to Rochford.

“There is a need for housing in Rochford, there is a shortage which needs to be met and the plans also include a number of commercial spaces on the ground floor where the Sainsburys is, which will be a good thing.”

Concerns were initially raised by residents that 21 car parking spaces included in plans would place pressure on the surrounding roads and lead to major disruption.

Mr Steptoe said: “The plans have integral car parking and there is a large capacity by the Freight House which is just a hop and a skip away.

“It is worth remembering that with this type of development, the type of people to have them will be commuters due to how close it is to Rochford station.”

Housing in the development, designed by Breley Architects based in Southend, will comprise of twelve one-bed flats, 16 two-bed flats and one three-bed flat, with a gross value for the property sitting between £6.5million and £7.1million.