MULTI-MILLION pound plans to kickstart Basildon town centre’s regeneration are likely to be rubber-stamped next week.

Proposals to move the town’s market, now based in Market Square, into St Martin’s Square, as well as completely revamping the square, will be before Basildon Council’s development control committee on Tuesday.

Officers have recommended the plans are pushed through.

They will mean South Essex College can build a town centre campus on the old market site.

Regeneration bosses have hailed the move as the project which really kickstarts the £1billion transformation of the town.

Hans Wustefeld, manager of Basildon Town Centre Management, who runs the market, said: “This will cost more than £1million and the end result will be that Basildon will have one of the best markets in the UK.

“This is the first major part of the regeneration, with the market moving and the college coming into the town centre, and both projects will make Basildon more attractive to shoppers and make it much nicer to shop in.”

The market will be smaller, but will contain 51 ‘21st century’ permanent stalls, and 20 units that can be packed away – complete with free wi-fi, electricity and water, and card payment facilities.

The non-permanent stalls will be put up near tarty Fiesta and down Church Walk.

Mr Wustefeld said: “We’ve looked at the best markets in the UK and continental markets in coming up with the design, and although it will be smaller, traders are very happy with what has been offered.”

The ambitious project also includes giving St Martin’s Square a complete facelift, putting in new decorations, and tearing down 41 trees, which will be replaced by 40 new ones.

New paving and street furniture will be installed, linking the market, church and gardens.

St Martin’s Church has said it is concerned by possible noise, but has requested newer windows and a stall at the market.

The car park behind the Basildon Centre, used by shoppers at the weekend, will have to make way for the market’s management office.

If planning permission is granted, work will start in April and finish by spring or summer 2015 – a few months behind initial timescales.