• A BLOCK of flats will be built on an old car sales garage in Benfleet despite neighbours’ opposition. Castle Point Council has approved plans for 24 new flats in a three-storey building on green belt land in London Road, South Benfleet.

    The site was previously occupied by a car sale garage which has since closed down.The building will see three one-bedroom apartments in the basement, eight apartments on the ground and first floors, four on the second and one on the third floor.There will also be 24 parking spaces and cycle and bin storage.

    The council received several objections from residents, with one saying the land should be converted into a park which would serve the existing residents of Benfleet.However, planning officers say that while children’s play areas and parks are part of the local plan, “no specific need” has been identified for the area.

    Concerns were also raised about how the new development would impact on health services.In her report, planning officer Kim Fisher-Bright said: “A number of residents have commented on the difficulties encountered in gaining appointments for medical services and have objected to the proposal on the grounds that further housing provision will exacerbate the situation.

    “It should be noted that access to GP provision in Castle Point is not affected by the distribution of growth.“There is an existing deficit of GP provision across the borough (and indeed nationally) that is a result of the recruitment and retention of GPs as opposed to the amount of facilities available.”Ms Fisher-Bright said the Castle Point Clinical Commissioning group were looking to recruit more GPs through training practices and developing a care strategy for specialist clinics for elderly people to relieve pressure on GPs.

    Daniel Thompson, 45, who lives in the road, said: “It’s not just the fact that they are building on green belt, it’s that it’s more urbanisation of an already crowded town which doesn’t have the roads to cope.

    “I imagine all of these people who will move in here will have their own car, which makes at least 24 more vehicles on our street clogging it up during peak times.”The council approved the development, saying the concerns were not enough to outweigh the benefit of having more affordable housing in the town.

    Thanks to Basildon Standard for the post: https://www.basildonstandard.co.uk/news/17849401.block-24-flats-approved-benfleet-despite-neighbour-backlash/