PLANS to convert a former bank into seven new flats are set to get the green light.

Basildon Council's planning committee has been recommended to approve proposals that will see the old Lloyds Bank, in High Street, Billericay, turned into new homes.

Lloyds Bank had been based in the building since the 1950s.

However, it has been empty since the bank closed its doors in November 2022.

Basildon Council’s planning committee is set to agree the plans at a meeting on Thursday night.

The proposals have proved controversial, with Billericay Town Council objecting over potential overdevelopment, and increase in traffic, and a loss of privacy for neighbouring residents.

Artist's impression of the plansArtist's impression of the plans (Image:  Klara 89 Limited)

Billericay District Residents’ Association and two residents also objected to the plans.

Andy Barnes, Tory councillor for Billericay East, said: “I do not have intrinsic objections to new homes in the High Street and I understand the logic of that, but seven flats does seem a lot on that site.

“I would have concerns with over development with this plan, but the principle of building on former commercial space I would support.

“It’s tricky because banks are adapting to the new world and I think most of us do banking online, but it can be difficult to find a bank when you need to go into one in person.”

The council officer’s report says the development would keep some retail space on the ground floor of the building.

The report added: “The development would relate well to the host building, have no adverse impact upon designated heritage assets in the vicinity of the application site, and would preserve the character of the Conservation Area.

“The seven proposed residential properties would carry a moderate beneficial weighting in favour of the scheme that would contribute to the council’s five-year housing supply, whilst enabling the efficient re-use of an underused vacant former bank premises and retaining a commercial frontage.”

 Klara 89 Limited, which is behind the plan, was contacted for comment.