LAVISH plans to build a state-of-the-art sporting village in Basildon have finally been given the go-ahead.

Councillors have just approved proposals for the design of the £35million Olympic sports and fitness complex destined for Gloucester Park.

The plans, which were rubber-stamped at a planning meeting this week, have been five years in the making and it is expected the village will be used to house Russian athletes for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Speaking after the meeting, Stephen Horgan, Basildon’s Tory councillor for development and regeneration, said he was overjoyed the council has finally reached this stage.

He said: “We are delighted plans for the complex have been approved. This is a rare opportunity to build a world class sporting complex that will offer all of our people state-of-the-art facilities.

“The centre will become a sporting hub for the whole community, from casual users all the way to elite athletes. This is another example of the council delivering on its regeneration plans, even during these tough economic times.”

The village – due to be built by December 2010 – is being funded by Essex County Council, Sport England and Veolia ES Cleanaway Pitsea Marshes Trust.

But details surrounding the design of the building were criticised by some opposition members of the development and control committee.

This sparked a row which led to one councillor describing the building as “looking like a Seventies shopping precinct”.

Under the plans, the village will house a 50-metre competition-size swimming pool with seating for 400 spectators.

It will also have a large sports hall, a gymnastics centre, a fitness centre, a multi-purpose studio and a climbing wall.

Other facilities will include six floodlit five-a-side artificial pitches, meeting and function rooms, a cafe and car parking for almost 400 cars.

Members approved the design of the building, having previously granted permission for the principle of the development in April 2008.

Councillors unanimously agreed with the exception of opposition councillors Geoff Williams and Phil Rackley who voted against the plans.

Mr Rackley, the Labour member for St Martin’s, tabled a motion, which was seconded by Mr Williams.

It called for the plans to go out for full public consultation and then come back to the planning committee. But they were out-voted. Officers revealed at the meeting the complex would be made from micro-ridged metal panels and also insulated translucent panels, which allow light to pass through them – effectively making the village glow at night.

Two of the projected buildings are also to be painted in an eye-catching colour. Current plans favour a vivid yellow.

Mr Williams, the Lib Dem member for Nether Mayne, said: “For a programme which has been vaunted for years as a great investment, at least an exhibition in the foyer of the Basildon Centre would have been justified.”

On the design of the building, he said: “It sounds like corrugated metal to me. I think the design looks like a rather tired 1970s shopping precinct. In other parts of the town, they want to pull such things down.”