A popular piece of public art is set to be temporarily removed to make way for ambitious plans to develop a town centre.

One of Basildon’s oldest pieces of art entitled ‘Man Aspires’, which was created from wire and aluminium and designed by sculptor A. J. Poole, will be carefully removed and safely and securely stored during the anticipated redevelopment of the town’s East Square.

Work is set to begin on Tuesday.

The development will feature a ten-screen cinema and six new restaurants and the plans took a step forward last month when the contract to demolish the existing buildings was awarded to Thurrock firm, Squibb Group.

It includes securing the site for development and the demolition of Freedom House and East Walk up to the NatWest units.

Once the development is complete the sculpture and bench will be reinstated.

Councillor Tony Hedley, Basildon Council’s chairman of the Regeneration Committee, said: “It is important that public art such as the Man Aspires sculpture are retained in the works to pay homage to Basildon’s rich cultural heritage.

“The sculpture and bench will be stored securely and cleaned before becoming part of a new and exciting East Square which will boost Basildon’s night-time economy and improve the look and feel of the town centre.”

The development will also include significant improvements to the look and feel of the square and the council believes it will make the area a beacon for leisure and evening entertainment.

For further information about the development plans contact the council’s Regeneration Team at regeneration@basildon.gov.uk