A twenty-year redevelopment scheme to transform Basildon town centre has got underway.
The mammoth project – worth hundreds of millions of pounds – promises to transform Basildon into ‘a town centre to be proud of’ and includes the creation of residential units, restaurants and public spaces. In addition, improvements will also be made to the nearby station, whilst retail units, a new cinema and a hotel will also be included.
The scheme will eventually include new offices and a theatre, along with mixed use space, taking the project through 2030 and beyond. The plans focus on eight areas of the town including Westside North, East Square and St Martin’s Square.
Commenting on the project, Councillor Malcolm Buckley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said:
“This is one of the biggest town centre redevelopments in the country and perhaps the last of its kind for some time. It will transform Basildon town centre into a vibrant, commercially successful and popular place to live, work and visit.
“A big focus is on increasing the leisure offer available that will attract more visitors and investment in the town.”
A Development Framework for the regeneration of Basildon town centre was adopted by Basildon Borough Council in 2006, after considerable consultation work took place during 2005. The Development Framework set out a unique vision for the town’s transformation and identified key areas for change and improvement.
In 2010, Barratt Homes and Wilson Bowden Developments were then chosen as development partners, forming a new regeneration company called Barratt Wilson Bowden Limited (BWB).
Barratt Homes is the only major housebuilder to have been awarded the Home Builder Federation’s 5 Star Housebuilder award and has a vast wealth of experience in delivering large-scale housing-led regeneration schemes. Meanwhile, Wilson Bowden Developments is one of the country’s leading specialists, focusing on large scale mixed-use developments, including retail, business, office spaces and of course property developments.
In 2012 the extensive scheme eventually got underway with the development of Acacia Park.
Acacia Park comprises the construction of 144 high quality family homes, as well as a new formalised entrance to the park, a new lake and a boulevard leading to a central piazza. In addition, improvements will be made to play areas, pedestrian walkways, paths and the creation of a new bowls club at the northern end of the park.
The new homes within Acacia Park are being constructed on the site of the former swimming pool which was replaced by the £38 million Sporting Village which opened in April 2011. Once complete the development will help fund the next phase of improvement works.
Acacia Park is being seen as a key redevelopment area within the scheme’s grand master plan and promotes the use of a redundant Brownfield area on the edge of Gloucester Park. The new houses are being accompanied by the construction of a new cinema, restaurants and college, whilst the town’s existing market is due to be relocated to St Martin’s Square.
Over the next 20 years Barratt Wilson Bowden Limited expects to erect approximately 2,000 homes across the town, sitting alongside the varied mix of retail, commercial and leisure spaces that make up the scheme.
Divisional Managing Director of Barratt Wilson Bowden Limited, David Eardley, said:
“BWB are proud to be working in partnership with the council on this fantastic regeneration project; planning started in 2010 and it is great to see the master plan progressing.
“This is an extremely exciting project to be involved with and we are looking forward to working with the council and other partners to really transform Basildon town centre.”
Work on the first phase of Acacia Park is well underway and all phases of the scheme are currently on target for a 2017 completion date. Once this stage of the redevelopment scheme is complete work is scheduled to commence on Eastside and will include the creation of a new cinema and retail units in what will become a leisure square.
In the longer-term, the plan is to upgrade the existing Towngate Theatre – including the refurbishment of its auditorium and dressing rooms – along with the improvement of civic offices and the Westgate mixed-use zone.
Councillor Malcolm Buckley, said:
“This is one of the biggest town centre redevelopments in the country and I am delighted the masterplan has been approved. These are very exciting times for the town.”
To find out more about the regeneration of Basildon town centre, please visit: www.basildontowncentre.co.uk.
To find out more about Acacia Park, please visit: www.barratthomes.co.uk/new-homes/essex/H229501-Acacia-Park.