LAKESIDE could be turned into a bustling “green” town with new homes nestled alongside shops under new council plans.
Consultants David Lock Associates are looking at how towns across Thurrock can be utilised as part of the borough’s local plan, which will provide new homes, a changing retail scene and employment over the next decade.
These will include Grays and Tilbury but also smaller towns like Horndon-on-the Hill, Fobbing and Buphan.
The potential for Lakeside to be transformed into a mix of residential and retail to become a town centre with green methods of transport like cycling and waking will be explored.
Plans for 1,000 new homes at Intu Lakeside were announced in 2019 when tough trading conditions led the firm to consider mixed uses for its sites, but the plans were not taken forward.
Speaking at a meeting of Thurrock Council’s local development plan task force on Monday, Stephen Haines from David Lock said his firm would be engaging with landowners to explore future potential.
He said: “Back in 2015 we started to look at the Lakeside Basin how the potential for that area might change over time in terms of how that could become more the town centre and more of a mixed use location not just predicated on leisure and retail.
“Maybe looking at transport so it’s not always car dominated and how can we improve public transport, walking and cycling to these locations.
“We’ll start to look at that as part of refreshing the whole approach to the town centres and Lakeside being a critical and one of the larger areas in terms of its town centre function providing retail and leisure. How can we look at that in a different light, looking at bringing in more residential with different employment opportunities as well?”
Joycelyn Redsell, Conservative councillor for Little Thurrock and Blackshots, said: “However much we want to get cars off the road, it isn’t going to happen. I think most people who go to Lakeside are not going to go there to do their shopping and get on a bus and come home.
“If there is ever an accident anywhere it closes Lakeside down altogether. Not many people are going to cycle to Lakeside.”
Councillors were also worried about the threat to green belt and green open spaces in the borough as well adequate infrastructure being put in place before more homes were built.
Lee Watson, Labour councillor for West Thurrock and South Stifford, said: “If anything happens on the M25 or anything in Thurrock we are at an absolute standstill in Purfleet and everywhere.
“I’m completely for green energy and clean energy but people will always have two cars near enough per household.
“The areas you’re looking at around Aveley, Orsett it wasn’t really built for the amount of traffic that’s going to go through there as well as you’re preparing to do an urban regeneration town or an extension onto a village where there are HGVs going through there.”