PEOPLE can get a first look at plans for hundreds of homes, a hospice and an office block on a key site at the heart of Southend next week.

Charity Havens Hospices and housebuilder Bellway Homes will display early plans for up to 250 new homes, a new 16-bed hospice and a four-storey office block on the former Ekco factory site in Priory Crescent at Prittlewell Priory Visitor Centre, in Priory Park, next Wednesday.

Southend Council promised public engagement before a joint application was submitted, after Conservative St Laurence councillor Mark Flewitt criticised his Tory cabinet colleagues for signing off a development brief for the 26-acre site without consulting nearby residents.

The new estate would open onto Thornford Gardens and some residents have expressed concern over congestion and parking, although a survey by Lib Dem St Laurence councillor Ted Lewin suggested most backed the scheme.

A Havens Hospices spokeswoman said: “The emerging proposals include new homes, a new adult hospice set in landscaped gardens and employment space. The Ekco Social and Sports Club and sports fields will remain.

“There will be the opportunity for residents to find out more about the plans and share their views. Representatives from Bellway Homes and Havens Hospices and will be on hand to answer questions and give further information.”

The consultation will run from 4pm to 8pm.