COUNCIL bosses are set to be quizzed on an ambitious £1bn plan to transform Basildon town centre.

Basildon Council has published plans to establish a new night-time economy in the heart of the town and have proposed a 5,000-seat arena, 4,000 homes as well as a new cinema and college.

They believe the plan will shift a focus from a “shopping” centre into “an attractive destination for people region-wide seeking leisure and entertainment”.

But council leader Gavin Callaghan and chief executive Scott Logan have confirmed they will be on hand to face questions following a digital presentation of the proposals open to all residents.

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The webinars will be held on Tuesday, July 7 from 2.30pm to 3.30pm and on Thursday, July 9, from 6pm to 7pm.

Mr Callaghan said: “Please join us for one of the webinars and help us to shape Basildon into the town you want in the future.

“This masterplan is like no other produced by this authority. It’s unrivalled in its ambition to totally reimagine this town. It takes into consideration the whole town centre, which we are already strategically investing in by purchasing major sites.”

The Labour boss added: “We are putting our money where our mouth is and are happy to work with the private sector to make this town centre work for everyone.

“We’ve spent a year courting opinion of the public, private sector, landlords and leisure industry and produced an incredibly exciting masterplan. This is the plan that will shape the borough so please join us.”

To register for the Zoom webinar and to complete the survey go to Basildon town centre regeneration A six-week statutory public consultation has already begun and is due to conclude on Sunday, July 12.

The proposals have been criticised by Conservative opposition councillors who have pointed to delays to other projects as a result of the coronavirus crisis, such as the Pitsea swimming pool.

Mr Callaghan has previously hit back at the criticism, stating now is now the time to potentially waste taxpayers’ money. He also said the pool will still go ahead.