Exciting proposals to transform East Square with a ten-screen cinema operated by Empire Cinemas and six new restaurants were last night approved by Basildon Council’s Planning Committee.

The redevelopment, which also includes significant improvements to the look and feel of the square, will make the area a beacon for leisure and evening entertainment, creating a thriving night-time economy.

Permission for a ten-screen cinema, six commercial units and public realm enhancements was granted last night.

It is a significant milestone in the delivery of the council’s ambitious regeneration plans for the town centre which will bring a much needed boost to the local economy.

This is the next key step in the transformation of the town centre along with significant public improvements in St Martin’s Square and South Essex College to bring its state-of-the-art Digital Technology Campus into Market Square.

The search is now on to find a suitable building contractor to deliver the project through the construction phase.

Councillor Anthony Hedley, chairman of the regeneration committee, said: “I’m delighted that the Planning Committee has granted conditional permission for this vibrant development, which will bring more life into the town centre while boosting the local economy and providing new jobs for local people.

“Through our discussions with local people, we are confident that people will want to spend their time in our new leisure hub and dynamic public space. We want East Square to be a destination of choice rather than convenience and are committed to creating a much-needed night-time economy.”