THE number of homes planned at Fossetts Farm has been slashed by 500 as part of talks between Southend Council and Ron Martin.

Plans to build up to 1,300 homes in apartment blocks seven to eight storeys high have been scrapped in favour of houses and flats no higher than four storeys.

The new scheme will create between 800 and 850 homes in three zones at Fossetts Farm, off Eastern Avenue, Southend. The deal between Southend United and Southend Council will see extra cash released to the consortium vying to buy the club for the regeneration of the Roots Hall.

The scheme has been agreed between Southend Council and Citizen Housing – fronted by Mr Martin’s son Jack – and will now be subject to due diligence before a planning application is submitted.

Daniel Cowan, Labour leader of Southend Council, said: “We still need to see the detailed design but the principle is low-rise family homes with a number of low rise apartment blocks – between 12 and 20 apartments rather than hundreds.

“They would probably be no more than three or four storeys. It would be a reduced amount of homes. It was 1,258 and we’re probably looking at between 800 and 850. It’s moving away from a high rise, high density model to a low rise family home model.”

An agreement between Southend United chairman Mr Martin and Southend Council will see the upmarket homes leased to the council under a build-to-rent finance scheme.

The homes will then be rented out by the council. In the future the council will have the right to buy the homes for a nominal sum.

Under the initial plans, “Zone C” would have been a mixture of house and flats while “Zone A” would have consisted of 940 flats.

However, under the revised plans both “zones” will comprise of a mixture of both houses and “low rise” flats.

The number of homes in “Zone A” has been slashed to roughly 500 properties, while “Zone C” will be made up of 315 properties.

Mr Cowan added: “The general principles are that we believe that a low-rise development is better suited to the location a more sustainable and affordable project.”