A DEVELOPER has changed plans for a 200- home estate on a key Southend site after residents raised concerns about traffic.

Bellway Homes has moved the exit from the estate it wants to build on the former Ekco factory site onto Thornford Gardens to reduce the impact on residents.

The developer unveiled the new layout, showing the exit next to the Ekco Sports and Social Club, about 70 yards closer to Manners Way, at an exhibition at the club.

Steve Read, planning and development manager for the firm, said: “We have taken on board the comments about lights shining in bedroom windows and changed the whole direction of the site entrance and exit.

“We have looked at the options for the junction there, with a view to try to prevent residents from the new estate going in and exiting Thornford Gardens.

“We believe we have come up with options to appease local concerns.”

The pavement would be widened at the new junction and new road markings painted to give priority to cars leaving the estate, and narrowing traffic coming from the other two “arms” of Thornford Gardens.

“No entry” signs could prevent cars leaving the estate from turning right and racing up Thornford Gardens to the other exit onto Manners Way, to avoid any queue.

Residents suggested using a “no right turn” sign at the exit of the estate rather than “no entry” signs to prevent cars using the rat run without stopping Thornford Gardens residents accessing their homes.

But many of the more than 100 people who visited the exhibition yesterday, still opposed the re-drawn plans.

Kathleen Balaam, 80, who has lived in Thornford Gardens for 34 years, said: “It’s an absolute abomination they are thinking of.

“The volume of traffic is going to be one a minute going past. It’s unacceptable.”

As well as the new housing estate, a new 16-bed Havens Hospice will be built as part of the development on Priory Crescent.

The £16.5million hospice will have landscaped gardens overlooking the Ekco sports ground and patients will have access to a chapel from both the ground and first floor. The number of bicycle parking places has also increased from the original plans from 30 to around 40, to encourage more staff to cycle to work.