A NEW £30million college in the heart of Basildon could kick-start the futures of the town’s young people.

Plans were unveiled by South Essex College yesterday, which would see the college move from its current home in Nethermayne to a futuristic new campus in Market Square.

John Hayles, acting principal at the college, said it was important for the college to make the move to improve prospects and oppotunities for young people.

The borough suffers from an above average level of unemployment of eight per cent, compared with seven per cent nationally.

The borough also has about 580 youngsters who are not in education, employment or training, representing 8.2 per cent of young people in the borough – the Essex average is 6.2 per cent.

Mr Hayles said: “We need to have a futuristic college, and it would be a travesty if Southend and Grays have multi-million pound campuses and the young people of Basildon miss out.

“The college is going to be built around encouraging employment, so we will have a fully-working restaurant which catering students will run, and members of the public will be able to come in and eat and have a drink.

“It will be the same with the hair and beauty – there will be a fully functioning salon which will operate as a business.

“The college will have the look of shops to attract people from the community in.

“The current college doesn’t serve its purpose, and it is hoped this new college will turn the prospects around for Basildon’s young people.”

The new college would see the number of students double from 1,000 to 2,000, and offer a wider range of courses with new subjects including games technology, forensics and animal sciences.

Mr Hayles also said a new sports hall, open to the community, could be included in the plans.

He added: “The college will be open from morning until late with new adult learning courses, and it will bring the town centre to life in the evenings.”

The new campus will be funded by the sales of up to 850 homes on land at Dry Street and the current college site. To accommodate the college, the market could moved to St Martin’s Square.

The proposals go on show at the Eastgate Shopping Centre today, from 11am until 3pm, and on Saturday, from 10am until 2pm, outside Monsoon.

The plans can also be seen at basildontowncentrecollege.co.ukConsultation runs until June 18.