MULTI-MILLION pound plans to revamp a “tired” part of Wickford will keep the library at its heart, senior councillors say.

Plans to move Wickford Community Association, in Market Road, were revealed following Basildon Council’s annual budget meeting as part of a £1.5million scheme.

The site of the current centre is wanted by Willows shopping centre owners, London & Cambridge Properties, for new shops and flats.

One site mooted for the town centre includes park land about one mile away in Nevendon Road.

Fears had been raised that the library could follow the centre out of town. However, Phil Turner, leader of Basildon Council, insists a new library would be built and would remain in Market Road.

Basildon Council is to contribute up to £300,000 to ensure the project is affordable.

Mr Turner has called on support from the Wickford Independents to help bring the scheme forward and for them to put “political egos to one side”.

He said: “The library will be remainingin the town centre and will be a feature of the new development being proposed by London and Cambridge.

“The new community hall and library will be state-of-the-art and meet the needs of the community it serves. While the hall will be located in Nevendon Park.

“We are asking the Wickford Independents not to try and scupper these plans and deny residents the chance for a bigger and better town centre and improved community facilities.

“In the past they have opposed and challenged everything the Conservative administration has proposed including the new Health Facility in Market Road. It’s time to put the residents and community needs first and their egos second.”

Peter Holliman, Tory councillor for Wickford Park, says that there have been lengthy discussions with representatives from the community centre and believes it will be of benefit to the town.

He said: “It is looking a bit tired and these are very positive plans.

“We have sent in surveyors to try and restore the building, but it’s more feasible to build a new one. There is a demand for flats, particularly one bedroom ones.

“These need to be built somewhere.”

The plans have initially been met with criticism from some who have argued that the community centre should remain at the heart of the town.