PART of Southend town centre could be transformed with a landmark block of 40 flats up to seven storeys high.

The former Shell petrol station and the neighbouring office block at 175-177 London Road would be demolished to make way for the new flats.

Bayrise Properties, the company behind the scheme, plans to build two shops or offices on the ground floor of the new block. Eight flats in the block will be low-cost housing.

Southend Council's dev-elopment control committee will be advised to back the proposals for the land, between North Road and Brighton Road, at its meeting tomorrow.

In his report to councillors, head of planning Steve Kearney said the site formed an important gateway to Southend town centre from the A13.

Mr Kearney said: "The development would be of a striking contemporary design."

However, he said the plans were for only half a block on the road and it would be better if the developer developed the whole block.

It is understood the developer is not willing to develop the whole area.

If councillors accepted the proposals, the developer would be asked to pay more than £52,000, which would be pumped into education in the area.

The council will also ask for a contribution of £30,000 to improve open spaces in the area.

Councillors are recommended to allow officers to agree the final plans with the developer.

  • FRESH plans to redevelop the landmark Harwand House, yards away from the old Shell filling station, will be considered by councillors tomorrow.

Developers Sams has revealed a scheme to demolish the building, which once housed Baum's furriers, and build a block of 22 flats up to four storeys high.

The company had a similar plan refused earlier this year.

Councillors are recommended to refuse the plan because it would be inappropriate development on the corner of a busy road junction.

Officers said allowing the scheme to go ahead would also represent the loss of a building which could generate employment.