16 January 2019: 11:25 am
The making of Basildon
Basildon is having considerable success in attracting businesses to the borough and encouraging developers and investors to make the best of significant opportunities in the town.
That was the overriding message Councillor Andrew Baggott, leader of Basildon Council and Scott Logan, the local authority’s chief executive, relayed to more than 100 delegates last night at a networking event, which saw the launch of the third BaSE magazine, Basildon Council’s inward investment and regeneration publication, produced by 3Fox International. The event was hosted by BNP Paribas at its offices in the City.
Held on the night of the House of Commons vote on prime minister Theresa May's deal for the UK leaving the European Union, which failed to pass, Baggott said: "There’s a lot of talk about the consequences of Brexit, but it’s how you seize those opportunities and how you look at them.
"We want a ‘can do’ attitude, not one that shrinks at the problems. Basildon is alive with opportunities. We are well-placed to attract like-minded people, and I am determined we will succeed in that."
Council leader, Andrew Baggott. Image: David Fernandes
Logan told the attendees, made-up of investors, developers and other stakeholders in the borough: "The Local Plan, which goes to the Secretary of State for approval later this year, will provide for an additional 18,000 new homes, 20,000 new jobs over 15 years, and 92ha of employment land to support our business growth ambitions and expansion.”
He added that Basildon has a “skilled, capable workforce ready to adapt to the changing market”.
To put the priorities of the corporate plan in place, Logan said a committee will be created designed specifically for economic development.
Logan also revealed a four-star hotel operator is set to open in Basildon. He said: “We are in advanced negotiations with a four-star hotel provider. This will be the first of it’s kind in our borough, and the first for the brand in the whole south Essex region.”
This will follow other recent developments in Basildon, including the redevelopment of East Square, which will include a 10-screen cinema operated by Empire Cinema, the redevelopment of the Laindon shopping centre, owned by Swan Housing Association, and South Essex College gaining planning permission for a new three-storey 3,200sq m campus in Basildon town centre.
Private sector speakers at the event included John McLarty, senior director – head of planning at BNP Paribas Real Estate UK; Alex Stark, managing director at developer Redrow and Geoff Pearce, executive director of regeneration and development at Swan Housing. Steve Clode, facilities manager for Empire Cinemas, also spoke about his passion for bringing the brand to his hometown in Basildon.
One of the ‘new towns’ set-up after World War II, Basildon celebrates its 70th birthday this year with a variety of events.
Delegates at the event. Image: David Fernandes
Read the new issue of BaSE here