THE Brentwood Centre could become the “crown jewel” of an entertainment complex under proposals put forward by council leader Barry Aspinell.
Mr Aspinell has suggested the complex could become home to a cinema, restaurants and nightclubs, similar to those found at the Festival Leisure Park, Basildon.
The recently-elected leader laid out his ideas and said: “There’s Bas Vegas, why can’t we have Brent Vegas?”
It comes after the council announced its intention to renovate the centre, in Doddinghurst Road.
A questionnaire is due to go out to residents, which will ask for input on what people would like to see in William Hunter Way, if the development gets back on track.
Mr Aspinell suggested a cinema could be a better option away from the High Street. He said: “Is a cinema still required in Brentwood?
“If so, does it have to be on the High Street? Could it be at the Brentwood Centre, or somewhere else?
“We could have a proper Brent Vegas-style complex with facilities for young people. It’d be a second area for people to enjoy Brentwood in the evening.”
Any major development of the centre would be dependent on a new slip road being built off the A12 to the complex, something the council would have to lobby the Government about first.
Mr Aspinell added any potential slip road would have to be for direct access in and out of the centre, and not act as rat run for drivers accessing other parts of town.
He said: “It would be difficult to achieve, but not impossible.
“If we identify the centre as a development for restaurants, cinema and nightlife, there may be a requirement that the developer would have to pay for the slip road.
“It would add traffic relief too for those in the town who suffer when we have big events on. It would be a win, win and act as a real congestion relief.
“As long as it doesn’t go out into Pilgrims Hatch and just went in and out of the car park, that would be fantastic.”
Conservative leader Louise McKinlay doubts the plans will ever get off the ground, siting a number reasons including the amount of green belt the development would take up.
She said: “We said at the start we’d hear announcement after announcement from this council group and here we go again. As we’ve seen with all the others nothing substantiates it.
“It’s all well and good saying we’ll build another road, but let’s not pretend people wouldn’t be using the Ongar Road.”