THE future of a tower block has been thrown into doubt after plans to transform it into flats were turned down.

Planning officers at Basildon Council refused initial proposals to see the Aviva building, on Southernhay, turned into affordable homes, as they need more information about parking and road congestion.

The firm behind the plans, Garrison Developments, vowed not to give up on its vision of bringing the tenstorey building back into use.

It has stood empty since 2008, when insurance company Aviva, formerly Norwich Union, laid-off staff based there.

Director Barry Mathers said: “We still hope to go ahead with our plans.

“The only alternative is that the building is demolished.

“We think it’s a landmark building and we are in serious negotiations with the owners to purchase the building.

We would very much like to save it and are thinking of low cost housing.”

Chelmsford - based Garrison Developments is behind the award-winning upmarket ShoeburyGarrison estate on Gunners Park, Shoebury.

The current owners of the Aviva building, Eastgate Shopping Centre Basildon, successfully applied to Basildon Council to pull down most of the property when attempts to lease it as offices failed.

It would have been reduced to just two floors, but work never materialised.