AN empty building in Lake Meadows park is set to be transformed into a community centre.

Councillors are expected to allow plans to use the woodenframed building for children’s parties, events and community group meetings.

Ricardo Maza, who runs the park cafe, is behind the scheme, which is expected to bring more visitors into the Billericay park.

When he took on the lease, two years ago, he also agreed to run the crazy golf, pitch and putt, tennis and petanque boules.

Mr Maza wants to overhaul the inside of the vacant building, located next to Cafe in the Park.

He also hopes to put up a new awning, wall heaters and replacement windows to improve the cafe.

CCTV cameras would also be installed to improve safety after dark.

Two years ago, Basildon Council ploughed more than £300,000 into new footpaths, a drainage system, a play area and security fencing at Lake Meadows.

Kevin Blake, councillor responsible for leisure and arts, said: “We’ve got to make use of what we’ve got and this is a great idea. I’m really excited.

“Mr Maza reallywants to work with the community and I think we should encourage it. I’m fully supportive of the plans and I’m glad to see wonderful things being done at Lake Meadows.

“Years ago, I wouldn’t have thought this would happen, but it shows great partnership working between Basildon Council, Billericay Town Council and the Friends of Lake Meadows.

“The building has been empty for a while now and turning it into a community facility will really enhance the park.”

Stuart Spears, planning officer at Basildon Council, has recommended councillors give the scheme the go-ahead at a committee meeting on Tuesday.

He said: “The proposals would help to enhance the range and quality of facilities available to users of LakeMeadows Park and bring an existing empty building back into an appropriate, complementary use.”