A DEVELOPER’S bid to build 158 homes on a site left derelict for more than a decade has been blocked, despite council officers recommending it be approved.

Basildon Council has refused the plans by Explore Living Ltd for the development at 3 to 31 Runwell Road, Wickford.

The plans also included construction of a part basement, part elevated car park with a car lift and 108 car parking spaces - plus 166 cycle parking spaces.

But, at the latest planning meeting, councillors raised concerns about overdevelopment.

David Harrison, chairman of the council’s neighbourhoods and public spaces committee, said: “I am against the plans and see it as vast overdevelopment.

“I don’t think the infrastructure needed for development has been considered at all.

“I think the site should have been developed long ago and think it was probably purchased at the top of the market and the developer can’t work with it.

“I am not against development at the site, but think we need more than just homes to help with the regeneration of the area.

“I’d like to see a plan that includes restaurants or shops or office space to help ensure we keep people in the area, we don’t want to be offering homes but nothing to keep people in the town.”

The town’s residents have also raised concerns about the scale of the plan.

While some other residents said they want to see something be done there.

Nigel Brockman, 60, of Runwell Road, said: “I did attend the planning meeting and I am pleased the council refused the plan.

“I am a bit surprised the council officers believed it should have gone ahead.

“However, it’s clear the site should and will be developed, I think it’s about making sure it’s right for the town.

“I think the awful look of the site does bring down the whole town centre, so we do need something there that will improve the look of the area.”

The developer was contacted for comment.