BASILDON Council’s leader will call for a new study to halt a patch of land being sold for a new hotel for just £1.

Gavin Callaghan will ask councillors to approve a new feasibility study into the sale of the land, which would see a new four-star hotel, potentially from the company Hilton, built near Basildon Golf Course.

Mr Callaghan previously stated he wanted the previous Tory administration’s plans reviewed when he took office in May.

The council bought the land in March 2017 for £1.025 million.

In a report going to the policy and resources committee, Mr Callaghan will propose the feasibility study which would include an up-to-date assessment of the room rates a four-star hotel on the site could fetch, a review of the present offer and valuation, and a review the build costs, and work out what the site could also be used for. The report suggests that other uses, including retail or residential units, office accommodation or a pub should be explored.

Mr Callaghan, who is also chair of the committee, said: “No-one is more ambitious for Basildon than I am, and I am determined to see a four-star hotel on this site. But I am also fiercely protective of taxpayers’ money and public assets.

“We have to acknowledge that the way this has been handled so far has been sadly lacking.”

“We need a much more robust, open and rigorous process that will give people the confidence that we have explored all options and arrived at the very best deal possible.”

Luke Mackenzie, Tory councillor for Pitsea South East, said: “Thanks to Labour’s approach to this, it’s likely that a budget hotel will now be built on the golf course, instead of the Hilton. Last year the Conservative administration took the decision that a four-star hotel was the best option for the site as this was something that local businesses wanted and the chosen option was the Hilton.

“The decision was then reviewed at the Audit and Risk Committee. The information we received showed the other options available to the council and the likelihood of their success. The options that included mixed development were for a budget motel.”

If approved, the council intends to award a contract for the study by July 8 and discuss it at a meeting in September.

The council’s negotiations with Bran Investments - which is earmarked to buy the land for £1 - would be put on hold.