‘Wheels have come off’ the Basildon town centre masterplan

‘Wheels have come off’ the masterplan

‘Wheels have come off’ the masterplan

First published in Local News
Last updated

OPPOSITION councillors claim “the wheels have come off” the Basildon masterplan after it emerged planners are at loggerheads with the developer over its timescale.

Basildon Council spent four years hiring a “development consortium”

to build more than 3,000 new homes, 25,000sq m of office space, and 40,000sq ft of shops and restaurants, in the town centre over the next 20 years.

Barratt Wilson Bowden was hired in late 2010 after its vision of the £1billion redevelopment was approved by councillors.

It is nearing completion of phase one of the masterplan – building hundreds of newhomes in Gloucester Park and the former swimming pool site – which was supposed to fund the second stage, the redevelopment of East Square as a leisure area with new restaurants, bars, shops and a possible cinema.

Instead, the council is preparing plans for East Square with a £600,000 budget.

According to Malcolm Buckley, the former boss of regeneration at Basildon Council, the authority has effectively had to take back control of the project after disagreements with Barratt Wilson Bowden over when town centre redevelopment can take place.

Mr Buckley lost his seat on the borough council in the May elections and is no longer responsible for regeneration in the town, but was instrumental in the council setting aside the £600,000 for East Square.

Mr Buckley said: “Barratt Wilson Bowden said the economic climate was not yet in the position to redevelop East Square and if we had left it to them, it would have been several years before we did East Square or any town centre development.

“The council was of the view it still wanted to progress it.

“What was needed was to get another developer to pick up and run with it, but the developers now want some form of consent as they want certainty.”

Nigel Smith, Basildon Labour group deputy leader, said: “We had the expense of the Commonwealth Club, councillors and officers travelling to Cannes and an endless procurement to get the consortium in place.

“I seem to remember it was the developer that was supposed to finance and deliver the regeneration.

“Now it appears the wheels have come off and the developer is taking a back seat.

“On top of this, the plans are all over the shop, because the £600,000 is now on ice while the council finds out if Infrared, the new owner of the Eastgate Centre, is going to develop a cinema there.”

Leader brushes off the claims THE leader of Basildon Council brushed off claims made by Malcolm Buckley and opposition councillors about the masterplan.

Phil Turner said: “There has been no change to the status of Barratt Wilson Bowden.

“It is still our preferred developer and a party to the master development agreement with the council.

“As we work up proposals for East Square, part of its role is to provide advice in advance of any detailed options.”

A Basildon Council spokesman added: “The council manages and has responsibility for the project with the help of advisers.”

He added although the money to plan developments at East Square came from the council as opposed to Barratt Wilson Bowden, it was from a separate regeneration budget.

This currently has a balance of more than £1million and comes from agreements reached over the development of homes in Gloucester Park by Barratt Wilson Bowden, with more due as that scheme is finished.

Barratt Wilson Bowden did not return calls to the Echo.

Comments (8)

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8:05am Thu 14 Aug 14

Howard Cháse says...

It's another Laindon Shopping Centre Situation...
It's another Laindon Shopping Centre Situation... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 5

8:21am Thu 14 Aug 14

cropped hero says...

So yet again we have a load of hot air and no action. Just lots of inaction on the part of everyone involved.

4 years after the appointment of the developers not so much as brick has been laid in the town centre.

It would seem that the sale of Gloucester Park to fund some of the redevelopement was wasted.

I suspect that this 'masterplan' is just pie in the sky and we shall have to live with a town centre full of pound shops for many more years to come.
So yet again we have a load of hot air and no action. Just lots of inaction on the part of everyone involved. 4 years after the appointment of the developers not so much as brick has been laid in the town centre. It would seem that the sale of Gloucester Park to fund some of the redevelopement was wasted. I suspect that this 'masterplan' is just pie in the sky and we shall have to live with a town centre full of pound shops for many more years to come. cropped hero
  • Score: 5

12:19pm Thu 14 Aug 14

pembury53 says...

cropped hero wrote:
So yet again we have a load of hot air and no action. Just lots of inaction on the part of everyone involved.

4 years after the appointment of the developers not so much as brick has been laid in the town centre.

It would seem that the sale of Gloucester Park to fund some of the redevelopement was wasted.

I suspect that this 'masterplan' is just pie in the sky and we shall have to live with a town centre full of pound shops for many more years to come.
I reckon there was plenty of 'action', during those trips to cannes...
[quote][p][bold]cropped hero[/bold] wrote: So yet again we have a load of hot air and no action. Just lots of inaction on the part of everyone involved. 4 years after the appointment of the developers not so much as brick has been laid in the town centre. It would seem that the sale of Gloucester Park to fund some of the redevelopement was wasted. I suspect that this 'masterplan' is just pie in the sky and we shall have to live with a town centre full of pound shops for many more years to come.[/p][/quote]I reckon there was plenty of 'action', during those trips to cannes... pembury53
  • Score: 1

4:02pm Thu 14 Aug 14

TheWizzard says...

According to Malcolm Buckley, the former boss of regeneration at Basildon Council, the authority has effectively had to take back control of the project after disagreements with Barratt Wilson Bowden over when town centre redevelopment can take place.

Would barratts be in breach of contract regarding this?

The land was sold on the cheap to barratts £4,000,000 when its value was £7,000,000. Maybe thats all they were after with no real intention of building the town
According to Malcolm Buckley, the former boss of regeneration at Basildon Council, the authority has effectively had to take back control of the project after disagreements with Barratt Wilson Bowden over when town centre redevelopment can take place. Would barratts be in breach of contract regarding this? The land was sold on the cheap to barratts £4,000,000 when its value was £7,000,000. Maybe thats all they were after with no real intention of building the town TheWizzard
  • Score: 3

4:47pm Thu 14 Aug 14

TheWizzard says...

Howard Cháse wrote:
It's another Laindon Shopping Centre Situation...
Just need morrison's to pull out and buckley has a hat trick of failed projects
[quote][p][bold]Howard Cháse[/bold] wrote: It's another Laindon Shopping Centre Situation...[/p][/quote]Just need morrison's to pull out and buckley has a hat trick of failed projects TheWizzard
  • Score: 3

5:41pm Thu 14 Aug 14

cropped hero says...

'The land was sold on the cheap to barratts £4,000,000 when its value was £7,000,000.'

Would Bas Council care to comment on this - is it true or not? Why was an asset like this sold for almost half price? how much was the land in Gloucester Park sold for?
'The land was sold on the cheap to barratts £4,000,000 when its value was £7,000,000.' Would Bas Council care to comment on this - is it true or not? Why was an asset like this sold for almost half price? how much was the land in Gloucester Park sold for? cropped hero
  • Score: 2

5:56pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Howard Cháse says...

cropped hero wrote:
'The land was sold on the cheap to barratts £4,000,000 when its value was £7,000,000.'

Would Bas Council care to comment on this - is it true or not? Why was an asset like this sold for almost half price? how much was the land in Gloucester Park sold for?
Ten bob says the propaganda wing i.e. Basildon Council Communications keep their head firmly down on this one.
[quote][p][bold]cropped hero[/bold] wrote: 'The land was sold on the cheap to barratts £4,000,000 when its value was £7,000,000.' Would Bas Council care to comment on this - is it true or not? Why was an asset like this sold for almost half price? how much was the land in Gloucester Park sold for?[/p][/quote]Ten bob says the propaganda wing i.e. Basildon Council Communications keep their head firmly down on this one. Howard Cháse
  • Score: 2

2:13pm Fri 15 Aug 14

gumbley says...

Quite clearly the Council should never have sold the land in Gloucester Park to Barratts in the first place, nor should they have allowed them to destroy the park.
THE WHOLE WAY THE SCHEME WAS SOLD was, as is said in the article that part of the proceeds of the house and flat sales would be used to fund the redevelopment of the Town Centre. If the process has stalled, as indicated in the article, then it might be time for a proper reappraisal of the Masterplan, including the positioning of the Leisure quarter. Two things are certain; Change is inevitable but sustainability is key to the long-term.
Quite clearly the Council should never have sold the land in Gloucester Park to Barratts in the first place, nor should they have allowed them to destroy the park. THE WHOLE WAY THE SCHEME WAS SOLD was, as is said in the article that part of the proceeds of the house and flat sales would be used to fund the redevelopment of the Town Centre. If the process has stalled, as indicated in the article, then it might be time for a proper reappraisal of the Masterplan, including the positioning of the Leisure quarter. Two things are certain; Change is inevitable but sustainability is key to the long-term. gumbley
  • Score: 5

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