Many of the building plans for Benfleet in the early twentieth century were large in scale, for example the 1907 Sea View Estate, which shows proposals for housing stretching from the Endway (Essex Way) over the ridge now St Mary’s Road (was to be Downs Road) down to the railway line/creek. It was not only the plans that were grandiose but also the sales pitch: Benfleet with its undulating scenery and bracing air has been called the Switzerland of Essex. However individual houses were still being built and one such was Brecon House. In May 1924 F.S. Barns, the owner of Suttons put in a planning application, which was approved the following month. This all took place while St Mary’s Road, in which it sits, was only a proposal! It was and still is an imposing house, with a high roof on the crest of the ridge. The walls are made of reinforced concrete and the Dutch-style gable ends are a distinctive feature.
Sadly Mr Barns did not live long to enjoy the views and the house and other properties were put on sale in 1927 following his death. Described in the sales catalogue thus: “Occupying an exceptional plot on the crest of the hill”. It has recently been extended and remains an imposing building and a familiar landmark. There is a full set of plans and accompanying correpondence available to view at the Essex Record Office.