LONG-awaited plans to transform a derelict Leigh pub dating back to the 1800s will go ahead after winning backing from Southend Council.

The Ship, in New Road, closed back in 2017 and has remained empty ever since, becoming a boarded-up eyesore.

The East Anglia Pub Company was initially given permission to transform the pub into a 15-bed hotel in 2019, but revised plans were thrown out in December last year.

Concerns were raised by Southend Council that adding balconies would cause “irreversible harm” to the character of the pub.

Now balconies have been removed, the plan has been given the green light and work can start.

Peter Wexham, Liberal Democrat councillor responsible for the Leigh ward, welcomed the news.

He said: “It had permission quite a few years ago but it seems there were a few problems.

“So, it is good an agreement has finally come through.

“It needs to be done as it can’t be left as an empty building. It is also better than it being turned into flats.

“There aren’t really many places to stay in Leigh like this. A hotel is needed in the area, so that will be nice.

“It will be a place for people to come and stay and see what Leigh has on offer.”

Plans will see a 15-bedroom hotel, all of which are to be provided with en-suites, alongside a small restaurant /lounge area for guests to use.

The current building will be extended to the west site on the ground and first floor levels and a new section added to the second floor.

The new proposal was originally rejected in December over fears the first-floor balconies would “result in the loss of original historic features, detrimentally impacting other historic detailing”.

Bosses have since revised the plans and have omitted the two balconies to bedrooms six and seven from the application.

The officer concluded: “The reason the refusal of the previous application has been overcome.”