THE cost of creating a new NHS diagnostic centre in Pitsea has skyrocketed by £800,000 after costs spiralled.

A report on the new state-of-the-art health centre at the Place, in Pitsea, is to go before Basildon Council’s cabinet next Thursday.

The council is being recommended to approve plans to increase support towards the project by £800,000.

It will take the cost of the works from £2.6 million to £3.4 million.

The council says the extra cash is needed to ensure “value for money and provide substantial community and regeneration benefits”.

Basildon Tory cabinet member for health, Jeff Henry, said: “If the NHS was not fronting this project, this would be looking for maybe £5 million to do something to keep the building as more than a leaky bucket.

“It is one of those buildings that could do with the TLC. This is a considerable amount of work, the repairs on the lift in the building alone cost an absolute fortune.

“We don’t need an empty box that costs £400,000 just to sit there. It is a complex thing, and I am confident that whatever we bring to cabinet will be the final costs. Any of those amounts will carry a 7.5 per cent contingency.

“That is not our problem, however. Before that, we need better life expectancy for Pitsea and a new modern community library.”

Mr Henry added that the diagnostic centre will “change the prospects of so many people”.

He said: “It is a great investment for Pitsea, there will be extra footfall in the area, which will help retailers who have slugged it out through lockdowns and furloughs.

“This is a great boost and will be brilliant for the Mid and South Essex Trust, who will have reduced pressure thanks to the centre.”

It is hoped works could start in the summer.