PROPOSALS to build a £30million new campus in the heart of Basildon which could double the number of students at South Essex College have been unveiled.

A planning application to build the new college on the site of Basildon Market has been submitted to Basildon Council.

If approved the existing site in Nethermaye, which has around 1,000 students enrolled, would be sold off to allow a major housing development of up to 850 homes, including the neighbouring Dry Street wildlife haven.

The new town centre campus would:

*Cater for up to 2,000 students

*Introduce new A-level courses

*Have a hair salon and cafe open to shoppers run by students

*Include a state of the art sports and conference hall

Anthony McGarel, deputy chief executive of South Essex College, said: “This move is about raising the expectations of young people and being visible enough in the town centre that they can see, and get really excited about, what their future could be."