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Councillors have approved next steps for the Basildon town centre masterplan ahead of a summer public consultation.
The draft masterplan re-imagines Basildon town centre from what it is at the moment – a shopping centre – into a home for thousands of people, an attractive destination for people region-wide seeking leisure and entertainment and a creative and dynamic place to work and do business.
On Wednesday May 13, members of the Town Centre Revival Committee chaired by leader of the council, Councillor Gavin Callaghan, were asked to consider the draft town centre masterplan prior to its adoption as a supplementary planning document (SPD) to the Local Plan.
The next stage will be a six-week statutory public consultation starting on June 1, conducted online and making use of virtual technologies.
Cllr Callaghan said: “This masterplan is like no other produced by this authority. It’s unrivalled in its ambition to totally re-imagine this town which has been declining for years. It takes into consideration the whole town centre, which we are already strategically investing in by purchasing major town centre sites.
“We are putting our money where our mouth is and are happy to work with the private sector to make this town centre work for everyone.
“We’ve spent a year courting opinion of the public, private sector, landlords and leisure industry and produced at an incredibly exciting masterplan. This is the plan that will shape the borough.”
The masterplan includes establishing a night-time economy in the heart of the town, up to 4,000 new homes, retail, leisure and a major flexible convention centre and multi-use arena space. This will complement and support the new cinema and college and create a multi-use town centre.
Cllr Callaghan added: “This masterplan has put the whole town centre on the table for regeneration. We have to look to the future and build a place that works for everyone. We have unrivalled accessibility, by road, rail and air and are the central hub within the South Essex corridor of commercial activity.
“No ideas are off the table. We have an opportunity to turn this new town into a tech town housing a tech business cluster, building on the growth of the sector across the borough.”