14 March 2019 - Investments designed to improve the look and feel of housing estates, parks and open spaces across the borough were approved by councillors last night (Wednesday 13 March).

As part of the 2019/20 budget, which was approved by Council on Thursday 14 February, an allocation of £420,000 was made to the Leisure, Culture and Environment Committee for projects which fall within its remit. These include providing free parking at council-owned car parks during the Christmas period and on St George's Day to encourage use of the borough's High Streets and support local businesses.

The committee further agreed to fund two Pride Teams, which are responsible for deep cleaning untidy areas, removing dumped litter and cutting back overgrown trees, on a permanent basis. Five members of the Street Scene Enforcement and Education Team will also be retained to tackle flytipping issues.

The South Green Recycling Centre will be replaced with a new car park to meet demand for additional bays, with the committee also allocating match funding of £100,000 to Essex Highways for improvements to public spaces across the borough.

Councillor Kevin Blake, Chairman of the Leisure, Culture and Environment Committee, said: "We understand that improving the environment is important to our residents and businesses, from keeping neighbourhoods clean to ensuring open spaces are attractive and welcoming.

"We hope that our investments will build civic pride in communities across the borough. With celebrations taking place throughout the year to mark the 70th anniversary of Basildon New Town, it's a great time to expand on our good work and further improve neighbourhoods to make residents proud to call the borough their home."