Century old convent to be replaced by 33 homes following years of vandalism

·2-min read
Plans - New homes set to be built on former convent site
Plans - New homes set to be built on former convent site

A CENTURY old convent is set to be replaced by 33 new homes following years of vandals breaking into the site.

Plans have been submitted to Castle Point Council to build 20 houses and 13 flats, on the site of Walsingham House, behind Lionel Road, Canvey.

Westcliff-based SJT Developments is seeking approval for the homes as part of a second phase of an already approved development, which will see nine homes build along Lionel Road.

But residents have raised fears further homes on the island will overload already overstretched services and infrastructure.

George Whatley, who has lived on Canvey since 1963, said: “We need infrastructure on the island before they build any more houses, that’s the problem.

“For years we have called for a third road off the island, which we desperately need, but also we need Roscommon Way to be extended round to Thorney Bay to relive traffic in the area.”

The 80-year-old added: “We need to look after the people first and foremost. People should come before profit, and people come before politics.”

“It feels as if the council is willing to sacrifice the island to development to safeguard other parts of the borough.”

The proposals would see four two-bedroom houses, six three-bedroom houses and a further ten four-bedroom houses built on brown fill land.

The 13 flats would be split between two two-storey blocks, comprising two one-bedroom flats.

An initial application to bulldoze the convent was approved in 2019, despite 167 letters of objection.

Since then, the site has been plagued by vandalism and has often been broken into by youths.

In March of last year, the roof of the building was gutted by a blaze which took 25 firefighters more than three hours to douse.

The convent was originally set up in the 1920s by Anglican Nuns after the war, during which it was requisitioned by the war department.

After the First World War, the Sisters of Mercy came to the island and took over the old convent.

They set up a school on the site, and dedicated it to St Joseph

Walsingham House, as we know it today, is a large two-storey structure in the centre of the plot, built in 1971.