A MAN wants to turn his back yard into a car park for airport users.

Self-employed builder Steve Murray has lodged plans to transform the land, at the rear of Smallholdings Cottages, on Eastwoodbury Lane, Southend.

The unused yard, which is about the size of half a football pitch, would cater for as many as 150 cars.

Mr Murray said the facility was a private venture and did not involve airport bosses.

He is also planning to run a regular mini-bus shuttle service, taking passengers to and from the airport.

Explaining the reasons behind his plan, Mr Murray said: “There is always going to be a need for something like this.

“Millions of passengers are going to be flying from the airport soon, and I’m sure it can’t expand its own parking that much more.

“I had lived here for ten years and then the airport expansion came along – that’s when I thought of the idea.”

He said the car park would be 24-hour and create six jobs for residents – four full-time and two part-time.

However, one leading councillor has already slammed the plan, claiming the development was inappropriate for a residential area.

Mark Flewitt, who represents St Laurence ward, has already referred the matter to the council’s development and control committee, noting his objections.

He said: “If I lived opposite there and knew it was going to be a private car park I would be concerned.”

However, Mr Murray claimed residents would not be directly affected by the proposed service.

He said most of the neighbouring properties had been demolished, making way for the expansion.

He also said he had not finalised what he planned to charge for the service.

If the plans get the go-ahead, the park-and-ride service could be up and running this year.

People have until March 7 to contact Southend Council with any objections.

No one from Southend Airport was available to comment.