DEVELOPERS are "queuing up" to build and run a multimillion-pound sports village in Basildon.

Council chiefs say the response to an advert across the European Union has been very encouraging and it now plans to draw up a shortlist.

Councillors have agreed a questionnaire interested firms will have to complete before they are considered.

Stephen Horgan, Tory councillor responsible for regeneration, said: "The sporting village will be the best sports and leisure facility in the east of England.

"I have been delighted by the number and quality of companies interested in working with the counci.

"The responses to the questionnaire will help us narrow down the most suitable companies to work with."

The successful firm which will build the £35million centre with an Olympic-sized swimming pool in Gloucester Park will be announced next October.

Under the plans the existing Gloucester Park pool and Markhams Chase would close.

Council leader Malcolm Buckley said there was no choice but to build the centre because of the current cost to taxpayers of keeping existing sports centres open.

l To vote on the sports village plans, go to the Editor's Choice at