A MAJOR £1billion scheme to transform Basildon’s town centre are set for a boost as plans for almost 500 homes could get the go-ahead this week.

The giant high rise block of 17 storeys, with 492 homes, shop and office space is set to be built in Market Square, Basildon if the council’s planning committee backs the proposals.

It’s part of Basildon Council’s huge town centre masterplan with a 5,000-seat arena, 4,000 homes and new sites for a larger theatre and smaller council offices.

Gavin Callaghan, Labour council leader, said this site is more important than most.

He said: “It’s almost two years of work that’s now finally come to fruition. We’ve had to work to get developers to feel confident to invest in our regeneration.

“It’s a very exciting time for us. The Government has made it difficult for us to stop development but we can now influence plans that come forward and get as much money for infrastructure as we can do.

“If this plan is agreed it will kickstart the whole masterplan and could see four major plans decided on soon with all four corners of the town centre under consent.
“It’s going to revitalise the town centre and four corners of the area. 

“Every home will also be offered to Basildon residents first too, which will help people get onto the housing ladder.

“This site is significant as it will be the beating heart of the town centre and what people will see when coming to Basildon too.”

He said it will see firms moved and help to “activate” the area with more footfall.

But Mr Callaghan’s huge proposals have been repeatedly met with concerns and calls for far fewer homes.

Angry Basildon resident John Wheeler, 58, said: “I’ve lived here almost all my life and we do not want to see this go ahead.

“It’s nothing but a monstrosity and the huge tower blocks will look so awful.

“I also fear for people looking to live in these homes, especially with Covid times.

“I can’t understand what he’s thinking about, if the committee has any sense it will help block these awful plans.”