UP to 1,000 car parking spaces could be removed from Basildon town centre to make way for more housing.

A report commissioned by Basildon Council has found there is potential to cut the amount of car parking in the town centre.

The document, compiled by JMP, found even during peak times, the 5,750 spaces across the town centre car parks are only 58 per cent full, and will only be 73 per cent full at peak times with expected growth rates in 2034.

In a report set to go before the council’s town centre revival committee next week, council officers have stated the 1,000-space reduction could be met, in order to make way for more flat complexes in the town.

To balance the loss of spaces with the potential for more cars to come to the centre, the authority is considering a number of options to prevent the centre clogging up with cars.

The report said: “Options could include investigation of Park and Ride, or Park and Stride, sites outside of the main town centre, promotion of bus and rail services into the town and the accessibility and connectivity of the stops with the key locations within the town.

“Development and/or promotion of cycling and walking routes with the introduction of additional infrastructure, such as bike stands and wayfinding signs.”

However, critics say cutting car parking may not save the town centre.

Danny Lovey, a campaigner and former Basildon Rotarian, said; “We’ve seen across the country that for a town centre to thrive in these times you need a good mix of things in there, not just shops.

“You have to make it an attractive place to visit and have places to park.

“The council also needs to realise that just because people live in flats does not mean they don’t have a car, or have a desire to get a car.

“We have the East Square development coming which will hopefully help with this.

“I want it to succeed, I really do. The whole face of retail has really changed and it will never be the same again.”

The report noted traffic management measures, such as stopping vehicle access to core centre areas, could help enhance it for pedestrians and cyclists.

A further update of this study will be carried out to analyse the more recent changes in parking, as the data was collected in 2016, costing £25,000.