BASILDON’S £1bn “masterplan” to overhaul the town centre has been “overwhelmingly” backed by the public as investors queue up to join the revival.

Basildon Council has published plans to establish a new night-time economy in the heart of the town and have proposed a 5,000-seat arena, 4,000 homes as well as a new cinema and college.

Council bosses believe the plan will shift a focus from a “shopping” centre into “an attractive destination for people region-wide seeking leisure and entertainment”.

Now, following a six-week consultation period, the council’s town centre revival committee is set to discuss the next steps on Thursday.

Leader of the council and chairman of the town centre revival committee, Gavin Callaghan, said: “It has been overwhelmingly positive in terms of responses.

“There has been positivity about plans to put leisure, arts, entertainment, and live music at the heart of what we are trying to do with the arena.

“We’ve got lots of people who want to invest huge amounts of money into Basildon to reform it, change it, and make it into a 21st century town that’s fit for purpose and has something unique, and that’s what the arena is there for to draw people into the town.

“I think there is a bright future for us now going forward.”

Residents did raise some concerns around the train station entrance and wanted assurance the masterplan would be disability-friendly, but Mr Callaghan said those fears are in hand.

He added: “Some things people want us to consider are the entrance to the station - so making it a bit more of a safer environment and a bigger footprint for the train station entrance which we are looking to do.

“Lots of people have been in touch about making sure it’s disability-friendly- we already brought forward an inclusive strategy - but some of the feedback has been really thought-provoking in terms of the things we need to put into the public realm for our disabled residents.

"People are also wanting to make sure the housing is housing for Basildon people, which, given our Basildon-first approach, accords with what we are looking to do.”