BASILDON Council will have “the biggest conversation ever” in a bid to tackle residents’ lack of confidence in the town.

Councillors have been recommended to approve A new £50,000 plan to talk to residents and form a new brand which will make Basildon “compelling and attractive” looks set to be approved today.

The aim is to find out what makes residents proud to live in the town.

The first stage of the scheme will include a Question Time-style launch event this month to involve council leaders, businesses and schools to discuss Basildon’s past, present and future, as well as a residents’s survey, budgeted at £25,000.

Council bosses also want to create a “Memories Bus” to travel to five locations on August 17 to record people’s memories.

Flyers will also be handed out to commuters offering incentives such as theatre tickets and vouchers to complete the survey.

A “Happy Snaps” photo project is planned for August and September, aimed at those aged between 16 and 30, to encourage people to use Instagram and Snapchat to take photos of parts of the borough which make them feel happy.

The second stage, planned for October and November, would see more citizens’ panels, focus groups and online consultations.

The final stage, creating the “new brand”, is not included in the budget, as it will be planned after the engagement.

Aidan McGurran, chairman of the committee said: “How we talk about the borough plays a big part in determining how we are seen, what some people might call our brand. That really matters; it impacts on whether companies come here to do business, whether government invests in us, whether we are taken seriously.

“It’s all too easy for people to talk down our borough. But we have so much to be proud of and in this 70th anniversary year of Basildon new town, it’s a great opportunity to focus on our future and to talk our borough up.

“We want to have the biggest conversation ever with the people who live, work and study here to listen to what people think about the borough and we want to work together to promote the best possible image of our borough.

“By listening we can make Basildon better for our residents and businesses.”

The notion has gained support from residents.

Lee Boatwright said: “If you don’t engage with the council now and tell them how things could be improved, then you’re just going to remain disillusioned, vote them out after the year is up and continue moaning about how Basildon is awful.”

The plans are set to go before the council’s external affairs, partnerships and liaison committee today.