THE next step on Thurrock’s regeneration journey came a bit closer on Thursday (16 January) when the council’s planning committee backed the latest plans for intu Lakeside.
The £100 million new leisure development will see a series of new public spaces linking the existing shopping centre with the lake.
The spaces include a covered street, a family square, a town square and a waterfront area – including a new boardwalk and park next to the lake.
The plans also include an extended cinema, new leisure and restaurant uses together with a hotel positioned around the dramatic new public spaces.
Committee members heard the public spaces have been designed to accommodate an events programme which may include Farmers’ and Christmas markets, street theatre, music shows and live screenings of big sporting events throughout the year.
The outline application has all matters reserved, meaning further details will be submitted about the detail of the development, but the decisions confirms the committee supports the idea of Lakeside’s proposals.
Plans submitted with the application explain the building plots, the uses being applied for, the maximum heights and the areas proposed for public realm and landscaping.
The Lakeside Basin is identified by Thurrock Council’s Local Development Framework Core Strategy as a Key Strategic Economic Hub which will help deliver 26,000 new jobs across the area before 2026.
The council’s vision is to transform the basin into a new regional centre with a broader mix of town centre uses, including leisure and community facilities and so help deliver much needed employment growth.
Cllr John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council, said after Thursday’s decision: “This will play a significant part in delivering our vision and the Town Square will provide a major new focal point for the whole of the Lakeside Basin.
“Intu Lakeside already plays a crucial role in the local economy – it is one of the largest employers in Essex with over 6,000 direct permanent jobs in the local economy plus around 1,250 seasonal jobs.
“This development represents a major new capital investment of £100 million and will create up to 1,400 permanent new jobs across the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors; a further 1,060 spin-off jobs indirectly supported elsewhere in the region through wage and supplier spending; and around 330 jobs on site per year during the two year construction phase.
“It will also provide new infrastructure to help secure the wider transformation of the basin as part of a package of planning benefits as well as delivering economic growth and generating significant new employment opportunities.”