PLANS to build a block of 32 retirement flats were blocked by Basildon Council, because there were only 20 parking spaces proposed.

A proposal to demolish a house and build a three-storey building consisting of 32 retirement flats on the site of 107 Laindon Road, Billericay, was rejected by the council’s planning committee at a meeting on Tuesday.

Although the plans had initially been recommended for approval, they were blocked as it was stated parking was ‘wholly unacceptable’ as well as raising concerns over the height of the building.

Planning officers stated prior to the meeting that, although the level of parking was lower than the council’s parking standard, it would be considered acceptable due to the proposed contribution of a footpath link to the town centre.

After the meeting, planning committee member, councillor Stuart Allen, said: “32 flats need an absolute minimum of 32 parking spaces, plus extra for staff, visitors and deliveries.

“But only 20 were included in this submission. 21 of the 32 flats were proposed as two bed, so really they should have had two parking spaces.

“Really, if you strictly follow parking standards, it would be well above what is proposed at the moment.

“If you think about it, the people moving in will be downsizing and coming from homes, so it is likely they will be bringing their cars with them. And there is not additional parking in the area.

“Quite simply as far as our standards are concerned, the parking was woefully inadequate.”

It was acknowledged that this form of housing is needed in the area, but a more feasible and thorough application would be needed.

A previous application for retirement flats on the site was rejected by Basildon Council.

If approved, the developers would have been required to contribute £500,000 to the provision of affordable housing.