CONCERNED residents say Shoebury cannot cope with 172 newhomes and four-storey offices.

People living around Old Gunner’s Park are rallying against Garrison Development’s plans to build 172 family homes and 15 office blocks up to four storeys high on the site off Ness Road.

Locals say the area is already full of housing and the new development is expected to bring 500 extra cars if it is approved.

The site, bought by the developers in 2010, is also a flood plain, at risk of being submerged roughly every 100 years.

Peter Lovett, 72, of Leitrim Avenue, Shoebury, said: “The infrastructure won’t cope – they have said that there could be 500 extra cars because of this.

“They want to turn a flood plain into concrete. The storm drains already can’t cope as during the recent bad weather they blew their tops without these extra homes.”

Mr Lovett claims the land, designated as business and commercial use when the Shoebury Garrison masterplan was drawn up in 2004, has been flooded from groundwater on numerous occasions.

The developer, which submitted a planning application for the site in April, said homes and businesses would also be raised to protect them from flooding.

About 4.5 acres of landscaped public space would be created around a drainage ditch to the west of the site near Ness Road to protect the area, which is prone to flooding from the River Shoe as well as the sea. But residents remain unconvinced.

Nick Ward, Independent councillor for Shoebury, said: “We are the most populated area of Southend and we haven’t got the infrastructure in place to handle these homes.

“They are also building it on a flood plain which is worrying, and we need to try and keep as much green space as possible.”

A seawall, separate to the controversial Shoebury Common project, and running between the Common and East Beach – protecting the site – is also in need of repair, according to residents.

Ray Bailey, 71, of Parkanaur Avenue, in Thorpe Bay, added: “My biggest worry is the public purse could end up picking up the bill for the seawall.”