WORK to build a new £50m shopping centre for Laindon has come to a halt in a bid to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

The new centre, to be called Laindon Place, is set to include a thriving new shopping parade, a health centre, and 224 modern homes.

With six failed attempts to regenerate the site over the last 25 years by a host of different developers, Swan Housing took the reigns on the project, which developers seemingly stopped working on yesterday.

The council is also in talks to stop work on the building phase of the Basildon town centre East Square development, which will see a ten-screen cinema complex built, despite it only starting last Friday.

Basildon Council leader Gavin Callaghan announced the halt yesterday.

He said: “Construction of the new Laindon shopping centre is stopping today. We are looking to do the same with the cinema site in Basildon town centre and are working with our contractors to make this happen.”

Laindon Park councillor Jeff Henry, said: “Having heard a few rumours, I was made aware yesterday that building on the new Laindon shopping centre may have come to a halt.

“Of course in the current climate there are increasing pressures on people, but we can’t maintain a two metre working distance when building such developments.

“If this is the case, I applaud Swan Housing and the developers for making this decision. Although we have been waiting for years for Laindon to have this new centre and I live virtually opposite this eyesore, it needs to be put on hold to keep people safe with everything going on. It’s just not worth the potential risk.

He added: “This virus has been very difficult for everyone. When it’s something you can’t see or don’t know much about, it’s very frustrating.

“All we can do is follow Government advice, stay safe and be decent to one another.

“This is my home where I’ve spent the last 34 years and we want this work to happen, but it should recommence only when it’s safe to do so.”

Basildon Council were contacted for official comment but failed to respond before The Echo went to print.