SOUTHEND City Council leader Daniel Cowan says he is unable to provide an update on the Fossetts Farm deal due to laws around the general election.

Cllr Cowan has been in talks with Southend United chairman Ron Martin over the property side of the project which must go ahead if the consortium are to take charge of the Shrimpers.

But Cowan says he will need to wait before issuing another statement on behalf of the council.

He told the Echo:  “This is specifically about announcing an update, an update can go out, but it would have to go from officers, and they would massively sanitise it.

“I’m not saying I won’t give an update; I will give an update but via my social media, I won’t have officers drafting it for me based on the relevant information and checking it over to make sure we aren’t on dodgy grounds.

“I need to take time to draw up a statement to make sure it is safe.”

And Cowan added he was far from pleased.

“I am not happy but with this, the law itself states that you cannot during a pre-election period publish anything considered to be giving benefit to one party," said Cowan.

"Where I am frustrated is during the pre-election period, we had a whole meeting about this and the meeting that would have been broadcast and all the paperwork went in under the name of the former leader.

“Now I am in a position of pre-election rules so it is frustrating, but I am looking at ways I can work within the law, I just need time.”

However, it is far from straight forward.

“Its difficult grounds, we have to take election advice and we still have to delay the conversation, so it is just unfortunate that we aren’t in a position to give an update," said Cowan.

“I understand the critique about the content (of future updates) and people are understandably frustrated, all I can continue to say is I am grateful for their patience, it is a difficult situation, and we are continuing to work on it.

“The work doesn’t stop we are actively trying to progress a solution for a desired outcome, it is not as simple as saying ‘lets just do it’, if that were the case it would have been done nine months ago.

“This is an incredibly complicated project and we must make sure we have everything lined up, there are so many facets and we are working very hard to give people a substantive update that will have clarity."

And Cowan added reiterated how the council are working hard to get things done.

“We are going as quickly as we can but right now the only update we can give is talks are ongoing between all the parties," said Cowan.

"We have a due diligence phase.

"As we have been clear with, in that phase there will always be discussion points that come up where we need to work through things and we are inching closer to the finish line."