A CAMPAIGN has been launched to an ensure a building that dates back to the 1890s is protected amid fears it could be turned into flats.

The Freight House, an events venue in Bradley Way, is currently closed and Rochford Council has no official plans to re-open it.

Back in 2020, the council revealed plans to move office staff into the Freight House. However last week the council agreed on plans for back office staff to move to the Launchpad facility at the Southend Airport Business Park.

The Freight House was built by the railway to house goods being transported by rail.

Residents have now launched a “Save the Freight House” campaign as they raise concerns over its future.

James Newport, deputy leader of Rochford Council, confirmed a full consultation would take place on the regeneration of Rochford – including the Freight House.

Rochford resident, Benjamin Jameson, who set up the campaign, said: “Save the Freight House Campaign is to stand against the redevelopment of Freight House site to ensure that it remains a community asset and that it is not developed into yet more flats or housing.

“It is clear Rochford Council has no intentions of reopening the building.

“With fewer visitors to the businesses in the town square, I worry about the future of the whole of Rochford Town. Rochford has been thrown aside.

“It is time for the residents to stand together to show that we will not stand by and allow Rochford to be destroyed.”

The council say it has committed £25,000 in this year’s budget to support “engagement and consultation” on the future of Rochford Council buildings.

Mr Newport said: “There will be a full public consultation before anything is decided on the regeneration of Rochford, including the future of the Freight House.

“I fully support investment in the whole district.

“There will be a fully costed business case for the Freight House in conjunction with the public consultation.

“Of course, as part of that I would expect it to consider the historical and heritage value of any Rochford Council assets.”