A block of flats could be built on the site of one of Southend’s oldest private schools under new plans submitted to the council.

The new planning application proposes demolishing a building that was once the site of Crowstone Preparatory School, on Crowstone Road in Westcliff, and replacing it with a new three-storey block of flats.

It would be comprised of 18 flats, including one one-bed flat, 14 two-bed flats, and three three-bed flats. There will also be a communal lobby for mailboxes, 18 parking spaces and a storage area for bicycles.

The former family-run school opened in 1946 and operated in the borough for 70 years, before closing its doors for the last time in 2016 due to it having just 36 pupils aged between two and 11 on its books.

Since then, applicant DAP Architecture has submitted two failed planning applications.

The first proposed building 20 apartments and six houses on the site but it was withdrawn over concerns that it would be too close to the road and that the building was built on a slope causing the ground floor flats to suffer “inadequate living conditions”.

The second application removed the six houses from the original application and amended all the flats to have two bedrooms. The council rejected this due to the scale of the building and because providing only two-bed flats was not in line with the needs of the borough.

It was also found to provide “inadequate living conditions due to poor levels of light and outlook”.

The latest planning documents state: “After the first two schemes were submitted, the local planning authority finally offered some pre-application advice and opportunity to revise and refine the proposal. Specialist consultants were also commission and their detailed analysis taken into consideration for the current scheme.”

The key issues noted from the consultants include having a more “cohesive” design and “more thought” needed for the lower flats that are located on sloped land.

The documents go on to note: “The proposed residential development has been designed to make optimum use of this brownfield side to contribute towards delivering much needed housing in a suitable location, without causing major visual impact upon neighbouring properties.

“The comprehensive high-quality traditional design appears in-keeping with the scale and massing of the immediate surrounding context, whilst providing an opportunity to enhance the street frontage and aesthetic quality of the site and overall character of the local area.”

Over 70 years more than 3,000 pupils attended the school and it was named as one of the 100 top private schools in the country for two years in a row. But in later years, the school struggled with declining pupil numbers and poor Ofsted reports.

In a 2015 Ofsted report, inspectors noted that standards had not been met by the school with their biggest concerns focussing on the welfare, health and safety of pupils.

The new planning application will be discussed at a future Development Committee meeting.