WORK is set to begin in a matter of weeks on construction of a huge tower block of 500 homes on the former Moon on the Square Wetherspoon – and work is set to last for more than three years.

Basildon Council and residents opposed plans for the new homes, after major concerns were raised that the tower block was too tall and out of keeping with the town centre.

However, plans were given the green light by the Government’s planning inspectorate after an appeal and, according to documents submitted to Basildon Council, work will begin on April 4.

According to a timeline, the work will take a total of 156 weeks.

Craig Rimmer, councillor responsible economic stimulus and tourism, said: “It is good works will get underway soon.

“We have planned for a lot of this, we knew there would be a lot of building works happening. We have been thinking about that.

“There will be element of disruption, but we are hoping that there will be an element of trying to keep the area looking nice while construction is going on, such as moving planters around.

“We were against these plans, due to the height of it and the spaces standards for he flats.”

With works closing in, many of the shops at Market Square have since closed down or relocated ahead of the plans.

This includes the closure of Moon on the Square and Subway, as well as the relocation of Lloyds Bank.

Greggs is also reportedly set to close next month, with reports of it also relocating. The firm has been contacted for comment on these rumours.

Mr Rimmer added: “So, it is not ideal as Basildon is more of a medium rise town rather than somewhere that can accommodate all these tall buildings but for some people it will be new homes.

“But it was agreed that flats have to be advertised to Basildon residents first for a period of time, which is a good thing.

“Homes are also always needed, so when they start to be built, the inspector will look at us and say ‘this is Basildon attempting to meet its targets’.

“So, every cloud has a silver lining.”