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Arts and culture are set to be at the forefront of plans to reimagine Basildon town centre after councillors approved next steps for a draft cultural strategy.
The council, which is currently running its Basildon’s Bouncing Back campaign, has already made clear its intention for a cultural led approach to the transformation of the town centre through the direct delivery of the Empire Cinema at East Square, which is due to complete and open next year.
This is complemented by the new South Essex College due to open early next year, with its digital and technology focus.
The purpose of the draft cultural strategy is to establish a narrative for Basildon town centre, linking together Basildon’s rich cultural heritage, location, community, culture, business, environment and regeneration. A key part of the proposals is about bringing culture to everyone and in its widest sense, from visual arts, through to outdoor activities, lifelong learning and improved green spaces.
The draft cultural strategy is based on growing Basildon’s talent and culture, championing creativity and experimentation, making technology accessible to all and embracing green living in the town centre.
Leader of Basildon Council and chairman of the Town Centre Revival Committee, Councillor Gavin Callaghan said: “The transformation of Basildon town centre is so much more than just bricks and mortar. It is about rebuilding Basildon’s cultural identity, and whilst paying homage to its past, creating new and exciting opportunities for the next generation.
“For a reimagined town centre to be successful arts and culture needs to be something that everyone can enjoy – from performing arts through to healthy green spaces throughout the town centre. We will talk to the arts and culture community to find the best path to achieving these ambitions.”
Consultation will now take place with the BasildON consortium and the arts and culture community before and a report will be brought back to committee in the New Year.