In a report going to the Policy and Resources committee next Thursday 4 July, Cllr Callaghan proposes that the council commissions a new feasibility study that would include:
The report acknowledges that no additional uses are currently permitted within the draft Local Plan and that a covenant on the site restricts its use for recreation. However, the report proposes that additional uses, which could accompany a hotel development, are explored, should these restrictions be lifted at a later date. This might include retail or residential units, office accommodation or a pub.
Council Leader Cllr Gavin Callaghan, who chairs the Policy and Resources committee, said: "No-one is more ambitious for Basildon than I am and I am determined to see a 4-star hotel on this site. But I am also fiercely protective of taxpayers' money and public assets.
"We have to acknowledge that the way this has been handled so far has been sadly lacking. We need a much more robust, open and rigorous process that will give people the confidence that we have explored all options and arrived at the very best deal possible."
If councillors approve the report, the council intends to award a contract for the study by 8 July. The committee would then discuss the study at its meeting on 5 September.
The council's negotiations with Bran Investments would be put on hold while the feasibility study is undertaken.
Published on Wednesday 26 June 2019