PLANS to build almost 30 flats in a four-storey block could complete the transformation of a main road set for an influx of more than 150 homes.

Renown Developments is bidding to build 29 flats, 14 one-bed and 15 two-bed, on the site of the former Swan Garage in Runwell Road, Wickford.


Basildon Council’s planning committee has been recommended to approve the proposals, which would sit alongside Sanctuary Housing’s under construction 122-home development, knownby residents as Runwell Towers.

“The area is not capable of handling that many new residents at once,” Wickford North councillor Eunice Brockman said.

Echo: Plans for the flatsPlans for the flats (Image: Renown Developments)

“We have enough pressure on our roads, GPs and schools around here as it is, let alone with an extra 150 new homes on the way.

She added: “Admittedly, the area does need tidying up it is pretty unsightly, but this is too many homes to deal with all in one go without proper investment in our infrastructure.

“We have been shafted with the Runwell Towers site, so I am really disappointed that it looks like we are going to be getting more flats right next to it.”

Essex County Council’s design department say the scheme “represents a high-quality design proposal”.

The plans, which would see the garage bulldozed, also include provision for basement car parking for 23 cars, electric vehicle charging points, four motorcycle spaces, 30 cycle spaces, and a ground floor 80 square metre commercial unit.

However, none of the homes will be designated as affordable, despite the council’s policy of seeking 31 per cent affordable housing provision on all sites of 10 units or more, as the developer argues the scheme would not be financially viable if it had to provide affordable homes.

Council documents state this has been independently reviewed by a third party.

Wickford Town Council has officially opposed the scheme, citing the lack of affordable housing and residents struggles to get GP appointments.

While Mid and South Essex NHS Trust recognises there will be a “need for additional healthcare provision to mitigate impacts arising from the development” and has requested the developer coughs up a sum of £14,200.