Plans for a new college campus in Basildon town centre have been recommended for approval.
South Essex College’s new campus in Basildon’s Market Square will go before the council’s planning committee next week and council officers have recommended that it is given approval, noting it provides a “modern, high quality teaching facility”.
The college had previously been granted planning permission for a larger development in 2013 but faced numerous setbacks due to utility issues linked to a regeneration project, which will see Basildon market moved from Market Square to St Martin’s Square.
The latest plans have seen the three-storey development shrink from a floor space of 8,050 square metres to 3,212 square metres and the number of staff slashed from 150 to 58.
It will have a capacity of around 1,000 students, a reduction from 1,520.
The change to the building layout was made because the college claims that its requirements and aspirations have evolved since the previous application.
A report by planning officers reads: “The application represents a development that is suitable to a town centre environment and provides an improved learning facility for South Essex College (SEC), superior to its existing facility at Nethermayne.
“The Council is committed to creating opportunity in the borough and SEC’s proposal to provide a modern, high quality teaching facility in an accessible town centre location would make a positive contribution towards this.”
It goes on to highlight that Basildon has one of the largest volumes of 16 to 18 year olds within Essex but also one of the lowest number of facilities for post-16 education. This has caused many students to have to travel outside of the borough to study.
Permission would be granted on the condition that a financial contribution of £150,000 is made towards improvement works that will include £150,000 infilling of the Southernhay subway and the replacement of a pedestrian crossing. Another £5,000 will be required to go towards travel plan monitoring.
The existing Nethermayne campus has been given planning permission for a residential redevelopment.
A South Essex College spokesperson said: “Our new Basildon campus in the town centre will specialise in digital technologies, it will equip young local people with the skills to work in this growing industry.
“We’re excited to get going with the development and increase our education offer in the borough.”
Categories: Planning Permission
Authorities: Essex County Council