A BLOCK of flats on Canvey is set to be turned into council homes – the first to be created in Castle Point for more than 25 years.

Castle Point Council is in talks to buy 25 apartments, in Long Road, to help people on its housing waiting list.

There are 14 one-bedroom flats and 11 two-bedroom flats.

Councillors agreed to go ahead with negotiations at a cabinet meeting.

It is expected existing tenants will move into some of the flats – freeing up space in other homes.

There are more than 1,500 families on the waiting list in Castle Point.

Wendy Goodwin, Conservative councillor for Boyce ward, said: “I’m delighted to be able to agree that we can go ahead and pursue these flats. It is great news.

“We have not had the opportunity to build newproperties for a long time.

“This means we will be able to provide new homes for people who have been waiting on the housing list.”

The council has been able to go ahead with negotiations because of a change in the law.

This allows it to use money received from the sale of council houses under the right to buy to replace them with new ones.

The last time the council was able to build homes in the borough was the 1988 development of the Abbotswood Estate, in Benfleet.

Beverley Egan, Conservative councillor for St Peter’s ward and the councillor responsible for housing, said: “I am delighted with this decision. I hope the negotiations will be successful.

“This is good news for a possible 50 families, as we will be able to provide them with new homes.

“Twenty five will be in the new flats, some of whom will be downsizing, allowing up to a further 25 families access to other properties as a result of movement on the council’s waiting list.

“We need to pursue this fantastic opportunity – they do not come very often.”