THE proposed £1billion Basildon masterplan could see one of the town’s colleges relocated to the town centre.

Basildon Council wants a new campus for the Basildon and Thurrock College, currently near the hospital site, in Nethermayne.

Yesterday, the Echo revealed councillors will vote next Thursday over awarding the contract for the huge regeneration project to development consortium Barratt Wilson Bowden.

Now, more details of the consortium’s proposals can be revealed.

Marco Scarola, head of marketing, said: “We have had discussions with the council recently and our aspiration is for a town centre campus for Basildon.

“It would mean students are closer to bus and train links and the town square, making it easier for local people to access further and higher education.

“There would be other benefits if we were to move into a new building as well.”

Mr Scarola said the benefits of a town centre campus had been seen at the college’s Southend site, which relocated from Carnarvon Road to a site next to Southend Central station in 2005.

Stephen Horgan, councillor in charge of regeneration, said: “The current college site is too out of the way. It would benefit from a much more central location.”

If councillors agree to appoint the consortium next week, it will have a year to release its detailed proposals for the whole project, which includes new shopping and office areas, plus 1,900 houses and the creation of a night-time economy.

Council leader Tony Ball said: “I am delighted we have got to this stage. It has been a mammoth process, but the commitment of members and officers, and Barratt Wilson Bowden, has enabled us to keep this project running.

“With a new and improved shopping and leisure experience, more jobs and homes, this will in turn help to create a new economic vibrancy to the town centre.

“The regeneration is about the whole town centre, not just the shopping streets.

“The plans extend beyond the shopping core, providing opportunities to maximise the range of facilities and job creation.”