PERMISSION for Southend United’s stadium move has been delayed again...but the council will not say for how long.

The club wants to build a new 21,000-seat stadium, and entertainment complex at Fossetts Farm, but despite submitting plans two years ago, a decision has still not been made on whether the project can go-ahead.

In April, club chairman Ron Martin had agreed to the council’s request for a six-month extension to look over the plans – giving them until September 30.

However, the council has now confirmed it will fail to meet the deadline and has agreed with Mr Martin to even more time.

When it was asked how long the new extension would be, the council said the information was “between the applicant and ourselves”.

It has also failed to publish a formal extension of time agreement within the planning documents, despite all previous agreements being published publicly.

A council spokesman said: “The extension of time to consider the application by Southend United Football Club was a mutual arrangement between the council and the club.

“As the local planning authority, we will continue to engage with the applicant as we have done from the submission of the proposal and will take it forward to a Development Control Committee at the earliest opportunity.”

The proposed multi-million pound development, off Eastern Avenue, also includes five homes, shops, restaurants, a cinema and four full-sized grass football pitches.

The planning application was initially submitted in April 2017 and the council had until September of that year to determine whether it should go-ahead.

Since then the council has requested several extensions, with the most recent taking it from a December 2018 deadline to March 31 and from April 1 to September 30.

The council has defended the delays, pointing out intensive work is needed due to the scale of the project. It has also said the delays are not entirely on the council’s side, as the club has also been making amendments to ensure the plans are granted permission. Last month, the club launched consultation events for plans to build 504 homes on the current stadium site at Roots Hall once the club has moved.

An application for full planning permission will be submitted to the council once the responses have been analysed.

Mr Martin and the Southend Supporter’s Association were both contacted for comment.