CAR parks and a clothing store could be demolished to make way for 1,000 new homes at intu Lakeside.

Intu yesterday unveiled its vision to create a new community on part of the shopping centre.

The plans would see up to six residential blocks built to replace two multi-storey car parks at the south end of the centre, as well as the part of the centre currently occupied by House of Fraser.

It follows tough trading conditions which led the firm, intu, to consider mixed uses for its sites.

The six blocks would consist of more than 1,000 modern homes to rent, catering for individuals, couples and families.

Early designs for the development also include public and private open spaces, a gym, shops, cafes, restaurants and lakeside views.

The site would be designed to be integrated with the existing building of the shopping centre.

Martin Breeden, development director at intu, said: “Our aim is to create something very special, that will sit alongside an established and thriving destination where we have already invested £72million in a fantastic new leisure development.

“Our long-term vision is to create a vibrant new community right on the doorstep of one of the UK’s best retail and leisure destinations.

“What we are sharing is an early view of an exciting opportunity for individuals, friends, couples and families to rent modern homes that suit their lives and lifestyles, including excellent connectivity to public transport.

“For us, it’s a vision to build a place for people to live, play, shop and work.”

The new 1,000-home development, should it go ahead, would be in addition to a separate application for 2,500 homes to the north of the shopping centre.

The development plan, which includes a school, was submitted in an application by London Strategic Housing, and is being proposed for the former site of the stock car and speedway racing track Arena Essex, which closed last year.

Both plans, within a mile of each other, are all part of the drive to reinvent Lakeside as a town in its own right.

Intu’s plans will be on display at an initial public consultation, which will take place at the central atrium on level one at intu Lakeside on Friday between midday and 7pm.

Members of intu’s team will be on-hand to discuss early designs and listen to people’s initial feedback.

Councillor Mike Fletcher, vice-chairman of Thurrock Council’s planning committee, welcomed the prospect of more houses, but stated Thurrock residents must feel the benefits.

He said: “I think it’s quite good that big companies are taking an interest in Thurrock, but at the same time as a planning committee, we would be looking for how they will address the infrastructure around the development.

“We don’t want to have people moving in and then having to travel far for their education and health needs.

“As a growing and flourishing borough, we still have 8,000 homeless people.

“It’s embarrassing.

“We can’t have all of the new homes filled with people coming east from within the M25.

“Whilst that’s nice, Thurrock residents need to feel the benefits.

“It’s a tricky balancing act. I look forward to seeing more of what intu has planned.”

Residents have raised concerns that all of the new homes could result in the area becoming too overcrowded.

Kay Rush said: “When will they unveil plans for all the extra infrastructure required for these 1,000 new homes?

“Lakeside is a nightmare at the best of times without adding this to the mix.”

Barry Addison said: “We would need a lot more doctors and schools to come first before this, the land would not be able to cope.”

Keeley Smith said: “This sounds like a disaster in the making.

“During Christmas time when everyone is going shopping and using the centre, people will be trapped in traffic for hours on end.

“The borough is near gridlocked at peak times as it is.”