SOUTHEND City Council have held talks with Citizen Housing as due diligence continues into the property side of the Fossetts Farm project.

The deal is vital in securing the future of Southend United.

And, in a statement issued this afternoon, council leader Daniel Cowan confirmed the first two pieces of due diligence had been received and that were talks were planned for next week.

He said: "It was a productive and collaborative meeting.

“The significant complexity of the proposal and elements of the due diligence work done so far inevitably raised questions from all parties, and it is therefore necessary for the recently received financial analysis to be reviewed with some additional information.

“This effectively places us somewhere between the outcomes laid out in my first update of 23rd May.

"We expect this work to be completed and returned to us early next week with an initial summary report of the third part of due diligence also anticipated to arrive by midweek.

“All parties have agreed to meet again at the end of next week, once those reports have been received to progress discussions further.”

Cllr Cowan stressed he knew the importance of the situation for the Shrimpers but that the work could not be rushed.

"I understand the uncertainty for fans and other stakeholders is hard and all parties are working to support the club,” he added.

“However, it is necessary for the long-term protection of public finances and future financial sustainability of the council for the due diligence work on this highly complex and high value project to be extremely thorough."

"We know that the football club is close to the hearts of many people, and we are all keen to provide clarity and certainty, but we must be mindful that the council has responsibilities and obligations in excess of a typical investor in a deal of this nature.

"The timeline for the next step has been laid out and we will update again as soon as is practicable after the next meeting."