CANVEY town centre will get 14 new flats and six shops after plans to transform the former Haystack car park were approved.

The former pub car park, in Long Road, has been described as an “eyesore” by numerous residents and councillors, having stood unused for a number of years.

The plans will see 12 two-bedroom, and another two three-bedroom homes developed on the site, with balconies overlooking the area and six retail units on the ground floor.

The proposals by owners of Louis Fish Bar were approved by Castle Point Council’s development committee on Tuesday, but some councillors wanted the development to be purely residential.

The Echo previously reported that residents and businesses would welcome more shops to Long Road as it would help in the regeneration of Canvey town centre.

However, Charles Mumford, of Canvey East, said scrapping the shop space and having the development fully residential would be better for residents.

He said: “I broadly welcome this development. I think we all know this site is very much an eyesore, the development fulfils the function of providing much needed accommodation for the borough.

“Canvey Island is developing significantly now and I wonder if we should make this all domestic.

“I am just concerned that we go ahead with this application and we get this building and have a lot of empty units there for a considerable amount of time.”

William Dick, of St Peter’s ward, said the store space could attract too many takeaway restaurants.

He said: “What with the limited amount of parking spaces for the site, people will be parking further away, and the incentive could stronger for takeaways to take up the spaces over restaurants, which are a source of diabetes and heart problems.

“I think I would speak for many members when I say we would prefer this as an all-residential application.”

The plans also feature a communal garden on the first floor, which would be accessed from the back doors of residents’ flats.

Bill Sharp, of St James ward, urged council officers to write to the developers to say members would welcome a full residential block.

He said: “The town centre, whether we like it or not, is slowly and surely falling down from what it was.

“We need to make it somewhere where we entice people. There are more benefits to the constituents to use the site as a purely residential area.”

The plans were approved with nine members voting for and three against.