An application to build a mix of retail, leisure and residential properties on a car park in Stanford-le-Hope could be approved despite more than 500 objections.

The proposal, which has been recommended for approval by a council planning officer, will see a five-storey development built on a car park on King Street.

It will include space for leisure and commercial businesses, as well as 47 flats and 56 parking spaces. Of those flats, 11 one -bed and five two-bed will be “affordable”.

While the application was expected to be discussed by the council’s planning committee in January it was deferred after a petition with 498 signatures objecting to the development was not included in meeting documents - despite the fact it was submitted ahead of deadline.

Along with the petition another 35 letters of objection have been received by the council with concerns that range from the building being too high and leading to excessive noise to it causing congestion and overcrowding in a town that already struggles for doctors, dentists and schools.

Furthermore, officers reported that an agreement placed on the car park in 2013 – stipulating that 100 free car parking spaces needed to be maintained, allowing three-hour “free” short-stays for shoppers – expired when a separate 2012 planning application passed its development date in 2015.

Despite widespread objections, a council officer has not regarded them as serious enough to recommend the development is refused.

In a report they said: “It is considered that the proposed development would assist in the regeneration of the town centre by creating new residential accommodation, new commercial floorspace and the removal of derelict buildings.”

Planning documents submitted by Chetwoods Architects on behalf of Capital Land Partners say that the developer’s goal is to promote regeneration, deliver a high-quality residential site and create an attractive and distinctive development.