FRESH plans have been revealed for flats at a site in Leigh once occupied by a popular restaurant.

Developer Sandhurst New Homes wants to build 13 apartments where the Old Vienna restaurant once stood in Eastwood Road.

The new plan comes after Southend Council refused the developer’s bid for 15 flats last October.

Brian Strickland, chief executive of Sandhurst New Homes, told the Echo how he hoped things would get moving early next year.

He said: “We have put in an application for two less flats and I think it will go before the planning committee before Christmas.

“I hope to see a decision by Christmas and then hope to be on site by next spring. We’ve got a lot of interest from people who want to down size in Leigh.

“The plan for 13 flats was recommended by the planning inspectorate, so I don’t think they will be happy if it’s refused.”

He also gave an update on the current situation.

He added: “The council asked us to tidy up the site. There had been long term semi demolition and we got involved and stopped it because there is a radio mast on the roof of the building.”

Meanwhile, residents said they would be pleased for something to happen.

Dorris Baxter, 70, of Flemming Avenue, Leigh said: “I was very sad to see the restaurant close down. Now it is in such a mess it will be good to have something there. I think the awful look of the site does bring down the whole area, so I think anything that will improve the look of the area is a good thing.

“As long as it doesn’t cause any more traffic or road issues, I can’t see a problem with the plan and I hope the council does approve it. I don’t understand why people feel it’s better to leave a site to rot.” The controversial decision to reject the 15 flat plan saw Mr Strickland leave the meeting immediately, making clear his intention to appeal.

The plan was refused because it was claimed to be too big for the area, at three storeys, and an insufficient contribution was being offered towards affordable housing, or education.

Councillors also raised concerns about parking on Tudor Gardens, as the homes would have just one parking space allocated per flat. The committee was split nine to six with the majority going against planning officers’ advice. The Old Vienna closed in 2016 following a poor hygiene inspection.