A MULTI-MILLION pound development in the centre of Brentwood is scheduled to start “within weeks”.

Shops and 12 flats in a three-storey block are planned for the now flattened site on the corner of Crown and Hart Street, behind the Slug and Lettuce bar in the High Street.

The proposals by MCC Developments, managed by Paul Mecklenburgh, dad of Towie star Lucy, have been in the pipeline for two years, and were given the go-ahead in March last year.

Now all that’s left is aspects of a conditional application that include an archaeological sweep of the site. Once complete, work can begin.

Mike Hawkins, chief executive of Brentwood Chamber of Commerce welcomed the news.

He said: “Crown Street is very traditional so as long as the development maintains that it will be a good thing. Traders on the street are very proud of the area and rightly so. It’s an attraction in its own right.

“We always welcome any new development in the town, and if it drives more interest in the town and means more people will come in, that can only be to our advantage.

The news has also been welcomed on Crown Street by traders.

Lin Heath, who owns French Quarter, said: “Before it was an eyesore and not welcoming at all. I’m happy that it’s being developed and will include shops.

“If I have any concerns it would that we’ll need extra parking, especially if William Hunter Way gets off the ground.”

She added: “It should open up Crown Street to the High Street. I hope it will be done sympathetically with the street in mind and enhance the road.”