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New college delayed by Basildon market decision
CONCERNS have been raised over when a new £30million town centre college campus will be built after it was revealed the relocation of Basildon Market has been put back a year.
Proposals to shut the existing market in Market Square and create an upgraded version in St Martin’s Square, while revamping the surrounding area, were put on ice when Basildon Council narrowly rejected the plans on Tuesday night.
The hold-up raised questions about when work on the new market would start.
Yesterday, Hans Wustefeld, manager of Basildon Town Centre Management, said work would now not start until April next year.
Serious concerns have emerged it will delay plans for the South Essex College campus to move from its site in Nethermayne to Market Square.
Planning permission for the college move was granted last year.
However, college bosses now say the September 2017 opening date has been put in doubt.
Anthony McGarel, deputy chief executive at South Essex College, said: “We are disappointed about the outcome of the planning meeting and its potential impact on a September 2017 opening, and are reviewing our options.”
Plans to move Basildon Market were refused following concerns about putting security gates around the newmarket to create a “dead space” when it was not running.
Mr Wustefeld said: “We are very disappointed the plans were refused. We now need further discussions with the council.
“We aim to start work in April 2015 to open the market in August 2015.
“It is a year later, but when the timescale was announced it was still in the planning phase and was never set in stone.
“We will look again at the unit designs, but they are best you will find anywhere in Europe.
“They are used in Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and are the best quality. But we will take everything on board.”
If moved to St Martin’s Square, the market will be smaller containing 51 permanent stalls and 30 non-permanent pitches that can be packed away, complete with free wifi, electricity and water and card payment facilities.
It would also mean South Essex College could build on the old market site.
THE market plan was put on ice after the chairman of Basildon Council’s development control committee had to cast the deciding vote.
It came after four councillors voted for the relocation and four voted against.
Tory Anthony Hedley said the design had to be looked at again.
He said: “We do need to have a market and markets do have to evolve, but I think we have successively failed to ask for improved design in the new town and I do not think we should perpetuate that.
“I agree with two thirds of the plans, but my preferred option would be to sit down with the company and discuss a better design.”
Other councillors feared the plans would destroy the look of St Martin’s Square.
Geoff Williams, the leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat Party said: “St Martin’s Square was planned as an open space, not for a market.
“I am concerned about the loss of visual amenity.
“The market in the proposed location will not be open all day every day, so when it is not running it will look totally out of place. It will create a psychological block for people and cut off the Towngate Theatre and this building from the town.”