Councillors will be considering on Thursday evening (7 February) a proposal that could secure a top quality hotel for our borough that has the potential to bring enormous economic benefits for the local economy long into the future.
A top quality, 4-star, hotel in the borough is something that local businesses have long argued the need for and could also support the development of tourism and leisure in our borough.
The proposal would see the hotel built on land currently owned by the council next to Basildon Golf Course and less than one mile from Basildon Town Centre. It is approximately five acres in size and located on the edge of the urban area, the majority of which is outside the Green Belt.
In the council's revised Publication Local Plan (Oct 2018), as approved for submission, the land is provisionally allocated as a suitable location for a hotel. It envisages that a higher grade hotel that could support Basildon Golf Course by providing an additional amenity attracting leisure-based tourism to the area, as well as provide employment opportunities for the local community.
The council, supported by professional advisers expert in the hotel and leisure field, has for several years tried to attract a top quality hotel to this site.
An offer has now come forward, which forms the basis of the proposal councillors will discuss the meeting of Policy Oversight and Strategy committee on 7 February.
The council makes no secret of its desire to attract successful businesses to our borough and support the growth of those already here. Nor does it hide its willingness to invest in projects that promise wider benefits to our communities many time greater than the original investment. For example, the council has invested in Basildon town centre, which has attracted Empire Cinemas to lead a regeneration of East Square and develop a thriving night-time economy.
Our corporate plan states as one of three ambitions that we want our borough to be a place that encourages businesses to grow and residents to succeed. We welcome and applaud all parties that genuinely want to raise the standard of offering in this borough and who share our ambitions for the future of the borough.
It is lawful for the council to dispose of land for less than best consideration (that is to say, the highest price it may fetch in an unrestricted sale) if it is able to demonstrate that in doing so it will promote or improve economic, social or environmental wellbeing to the area and if the 'under value' is less than £2m.
Unrestricted sale of this land would mean it could be bought and developed as, for example, a lower grade hotel, a drive-through fast food outlet or housing. The Local Plan, once adopted following examination, would prevent use of the land for these purposes.
The details of the proposals for the land off Nethermayne have been set out to members of the Policy Oversight and Strategy committee in a restricted access paper.
It is normal practise for councils to restrict access to papers that support the discussion of proposals that require consideration of financially sensitive information while commercial negotiations are yet to be completed. This is to support the best possible outcome for the borough.