A COMPANY looking to build 49 flats on the former Tilbury Leisure Centre site felt the full force of the community’s anger last week.

Developers GH Land Developments and architects from Dovetail were greeted with a frosty reception from residents at the community forum last Thursday, who believe a covenant on the building and the site, in Civic Square, means the land belongs to the people of Tilbury.

The architects said the flats will comprise 44 two bedroom apartments and five one beds, none of these will be affordable housing.

The ground floor of the building would be set aside for community use, something Labour ward councillor Lynn Worrall, who opposes the development, was keen to know more about.

The developers said it would be down to the community and Thurrock Council to decide what it became.

Explaining residents’ opposition to the project, Cllr Worrall said: “This is about community and it’s about building on a park that was ours.

“If anything ever goes on there, we want some community ownership.

“You are taking a big thing away from us, it sticks in a lot of people’s throats.”

One resident shouted: “I don’t know why we’re talking about what we want to use this community space for when we don’t want any of this to go ahead.”

Cllr Worrall replied: “There’s a long way to go before those flats stand on that piece of grass, even if they do get planning permission, they’ve still got to get the covenant lifted.”

Fellow Labour ward councillor Steve Liddiard appealed to residents to give the council ideas for community uses should the development be approved.

He said: “We need to feed ideas into the council to get the best for the community, let us know what you want.”

Labour’s parliamentary candidate Polly Billington criticised the proposed height of the flats, which will be five storeys at their highest point.

She said: “Five storeys is really high, it sounds to me like it is totally going to dominate the area.”

When the architects argued the highest point would be the thinnest, Ms Billington retorted: “You could say the same about The Shard.”

The planning application is due to come before Thurrock Council’s planning committee later this month.