AN AMPHITHEATRE could be built in the middle of Basildon Town Centre as “pipe dream” plans for a 5,000 seat arena have been shelved.

The new Tory bosses at Basildon Council are embarking on “visionary” plans to install seating opposite the Primark store in the town centre, to bring live music and outside entertainment to our doorstep, in a bid to emulate a “Covent Garden vibe.”

The move will see the already existing steps on East Walk built on top of, looking down into the square below.

This comes as the council’s plans for a huge 5,000 seat arena for the town have been scrapped.

A consultation will be launched before the plans are discussed further.

Brentwood Live: The arenaThe arena


Andrew Baggott, the Tory leader, and new leader of Basildon Council, believes the amphitheatre will “bring in the crowds” and atmosphere the town centre is craving.

He said: “I’ve been speaking to officers and colleagues and I want to dig deeper into how it will work.

“It would give the town some much needed energy. With the stairs, it’s already a natural amphitheatre.

“I can picture people eating their lunch in the summer, watching things going on below them.

“It would be something similar to Covent Garden, but one designated area rather than spread out. We would need it to draw the public in.”

The new leader has now ditched plans to build a huge arena, first suggested under the previous Labour led administration.

Bosses had targeted investment from abroad, specifically America, to get the project going.

Mr Baggott claims the plan was just a “pipe dream” and was “never going to get off the ground.”

“Through speaking to officers, you soon realise there wasn’t any investment there”, he added.

Since regaining power at the local election on May 7, the Conservatives pledged to rethink the £1billion Basildon Masterplan.

The group will also scrap plans for a youth zone in the town.

Mr Baggott, said: “We’re trying to pull back a lot of things, but there’s legal aspects and planning applications that may prevent that.

“Residents don’t want huge high rise tower blocks.”

He confirmed a consultation into plans for the town centre will be launched “as soon as possible.”

The Conservatives have also vowed to re-open the Laindon Community Centre “as soon as we can.”