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Ambitious Town Centre Plans in Question

30th August 2012
Posted by Gateway 97.8

Eastgate Shopping Centre Basildon has been unable to rent the office space currently available in the Aviva building. As a result, residents and councillors fear that the £1billion Basildon town centre regeneration project may be too ambitious at a time of a struggling economy.

The Aviva building, the former Norwich Union House located in Southernhay, was last occupied in 2008 but has failed to attract any businesses since. By modern standards, the available space is seen as insufficient.

The 10-storey building is to be reduced to a 2-storey building, with 8 floors (8000 squared metres) being lost. Eastgate shopping centre plan to use the remaining two floors of the Aviva building for retail space.

This news will certainly have an impact on the ambitious plans that Basildon Council have for the town centre. The regeneration project suggests plans to redevelop a number of areas around Basildon town centre between now and 2030 including; St.Martin’s Square, Station Square and the Transit Mail, Westside North, East Square and Broadmayne. The redevelopment proposes to create 25000 squared metres of office space, over 12000 squared metres for shops and restuarants and build 2000 new houses in the area.

The council need to research and determine whether they will be able to attract new businesses or rent office space. With thousands of potential squared feet being available, there could be a chance that too many new shops will be unoccupied. This is certainly suggested by the lack of occupancy at the Aviva building for four years.

The current climate doesn’t seem to refrain the council from a large expenditure in renovating the town centre. The council are about to undergo a major lift refurbishment project costing in excess of £1million.

Brooke House, the Grade II listed building located in Basildon Town Centre, is one of the buildings which will benefit from the project. The sheltered housing complexes will also have their lifts improved.

The council are believed to have plans for the housing stock which are worth around £30million. Residents should question Basildon Council’s large expenditure and grand plans for the town in the current climate.

The full Basildon town centre regeneration plans can be viewed here: