CONTROVERSIAL plans to regenerate Grays town centre reached a new milestone on Monday 27 January as demolition works commenced.
The site that is adjacent to the current civic building will make way for a new Civic Centre with facilities for the entire local community to enjoy including a public café, a Register Office with ceremonial gardens for weddings and meeting rooms for community and council use claims Thurrock Council.
The changes will also mean the oldest part of the current building can be used to build much needed new town centre homes.
The council says they worked closely with businesses previously operating from these premises to agree fair compensation packages and find alternative accommodation for those that requested support, helping three of the four shops relocate to new units.
Cllr Mark Coxshall, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “The Civic Centre development kick-starts ambitious redevelopment plans to transform Grays stretching from the River Thames to the very heart of the town.
“The new extension to the Civic Centre will be more beneficial to residents, businesses and the community as a whole. These plans to rejuvenate Grays will enhance the customer experience, improve the high street and feature new and enhanced public spaces for community use, including a public outdoor seating area. Additionally it means that we can build 80 new homes on a brownfield site rather than in the greenbelt.”
In total, £200million in investment has already been secured for the Grays town centre transformation. This includes an underpass at Grays Station, which has received £11million funding from the government through the Local Growth Fund. In addition, private investment is set to transform the State Cinema site and create a revitalised shopping centre, which owners NewRiver say could include a gym, a hotel and food retailer.