TRADERS are celebrating after plans to relocate Basildon Market were given the go-ahead just weeks after the scheme was shelved.
Basildon Council narrowly voted in favour of a revised application to shut the existing market, in Market Square, and create an upgraded version in St Martin’s Square.
The project will see the area redesigned, with security and extra car parking spaces created at St Martin’s Church.
South Essex College will move from its Nethermayne base to a purpose-built campus on the current market site.
Delighted stall owners admitted they thought the controversial move would never happen, but they are now looking forward to welcoming extra customers from their newunits which will come with free wi-fi, electricity, water, and card payment facilities.
Michael Gridley, who set up the Pets Palace stall three years ago, said: “I think customers started to lose faith in the new market ever happening, so it has been really quiet lately.
“St Martin’s Square is a fantastic place for me to build up my business and attract new customers.
“It will give me an opportunity to invest money into better shop fittings and items on display.
“The new market will be an asset to Basildon and become a meeting place.”
Chris Elliott, who has run the Battery Centre for 11 years, added: “We’re in shock, we didn’t think this was ever going to happen.
“St Martin’s Square is the ideal place to trade from.
“The new market will be somewhere for local people to start businesses up without having to pay high rents for shop units.”
The original application was rejected by Basildon Council’s planning committee because of a number of concerns, including security gates at the new market.
Basildon Town Centre Management and planning officers worked closely to come back with a second set of designs, which free up views of the Bell Tower and Basildon Centre.
The new market is expected to be up and running by next summer, and the new South Essex College campus is due to open in September 2017.
Ian Bond, director of Basildon Town Centre Management, said: “Any surplus revenue will be used to invest into the town centre.
“It is not about profit, it’s about helping deliver a much needed regeneration boost to the town centre.”