A FIRE-HIT building could be transformed into seven flats in a major Westcliff road.

Plans have been submitted to Southend Council to convert the first and second floors above the former Harp charity store in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff.

This follows last year's devastating three-storey fire which resulted in significant damage, and a man needing medical treatment.

Firefighters responded to the blaze on Hamlet Court Road, between London Road and Anerley Road, on May 21, 2023, at around 8.20pm.

The roof and top floor were completely alight upon arrival, causing serious damage and partial collapse to the unoccupied office spaces on the first floor.

Eight crews, two Aerial Ladder Platforms and an Incident Command Unit, were in attendance at the height of the incident.

Maxine Sadza, Labour councillor responsible for social care and healthier communities, gave her backing to the potential redevelopment.

She said: "I am glad to see the fire-damaged building could now be developed delivering well needed housing in the area.

"It would be good to see what has become an eyesore, and a reminder of a terrible fire, being changed into something positive, rather than being vacant for many years."

At the time of the fire, the cause was labelled "unknown".

Alongside the damage to the upper floors, there was also water and smoke damage inflicted to the ground floor, home to Southend's leading homeless charity Harp, resulting in permanent closure.

Harp has since opened a new charity shop nearby on the same road in the former Boots store.

The applicant behind the plans, Mr Meisner, states in the application that the external aspects of the property will keep the same character of the building.

He further reassured future occupants that every room will benefit from natural light.

Judgement on the transformative plans now awaits a decision from Southend Council.