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18 January 2012, 06:00
Big plans have been unveiled to completely revamp Basildon town centre.
The plans have been revealed as part of the draft master plan and presented to the council's cabinet. If approved, the plans will be put out to public consultation for six weeks.
The draft proposals show how a new 8-12 screen state of the art cinema could be the centrepiece of a remodelled East Square, a development that will become a new focus for the town, attracting new shops, family restaurants and coffee shops and providing Basildon with an evening economy.
A new street market, over 1500 new homes and a new college also form part of the plans, along with major improvements to St Martin's Square and Town Square. Draft proposals suggest that this phase of work could take place by 2017.
Cllr Stephen Horgan, deputy leader of the council, says: "These draft proposals are very exciting as this will be one of the biggest town centre redevelopments in the country and perhaps the last of its kind for some time. It would transform Basildon town centre into a vibrant, commercially successful and popular place to live, work and visit.
"Creating a new leisure offer with a new cinema, restaurants, bars and cafes centred around a transformed East Square will be vital to putting the life back into our town centre.
"I would emphasise however, that these are only draft plans and a full public consultation will take place where we will listen to the views of residents, traders, shoppers and businesses."
Cllr Richard Moore, cabinet member for planning, says: "These draft proposals have been worked up by our town centre development partner (BWB) in strong partnership with the council. The plans are very exciting and ambitious, but also immersed in commercial and economic realism. This draft master plan has been formed following detailed research, market testing and consultation.
"Basildon town centre needs to change, and proposals for a new cinema, creating a town centre community, and building a college that could attract up to 2000 students into the town will transform Basildon for the better. I look forward to hearing the views of the people of Basildon."
A new station square will also be created and the subway system would be removed, with pedestrians given priority across Southernhay. Paving would match that proposed for St Martin's Square. A new transit mall would be created for taxis and buses, with a new landmark entrance created for the Eastgate Centre.