THE revitalisation of Grays town centre could be sparked with a bid to demolish Grays Shopping Centre and build 1,000 new sky scraper homes.
A screening application has been submitted to Thurrock Council by NewRiver REIT UK Ltd for the redevelopment of Grays Shopping Centre and its multi storey car park in Crown Road.
The developer wants to demolish the shopping centre and replace it with 1,000 new homes in tower blocks up to 20 storeys high.
The 1970s shopping centre has undergone minor refurbishment with new toilets and signage but remains underused according to Mark Coxshall, councillor responsible for regeneration, strategic planning and external relations.
Welcoming the application, Mr Coxshall said: “I was very supportive of the regeneration of Grays town centre. We will be getting more homes in the town centre and that is better than having it on green belt.
“There are good transport links there. The car park and the shopping centre is underused. People who buy a flat will be able to buy a car parking space but it is so close to the rail station that some people may not need a car. The multi-storey car park will stay for shoppers and the flats.
“The redevelopment is great and this is the first phase.
“Mr Coxshall added: “NewRiver has been really energetic in how to drive forward the night time economy.
The development will 80,000 sq ft of commercial floor space located on the ground and first floors. This is a reduction on the current 177,000 sq ft of shopping space.
If given the go ahead the scheme will be delivered in three phases.
It is near a number of listed buildings including a War Memorial, State Cinema and the Church of St Peter and St Paul.
The current calculation for housing need for Thurrock is 1,173 homes a year – a minimum of 22,287k homes were required between 2014 and 2037.
In their application the developers said: “The development is not in an environmentally sensitive area and is in a developed area of Grays.
“Furthermore, having regard to the character of the site and the surrounding area as well as the nature and scale of the proposed development, it is considered that this proposal would not have a significant effect on the environment.