COUNTY Hall has pledged £500,000 to build a state-of-the-art health centre in Wickford.

Essex County Council’s leader, David Finch, has set aside the cash for the multi-million pound facility, which will be built as part of a major regeneration for the town.

It is one of only two investments he has scheduled to make in the county in the next financial year.

Basildon Council said it had saved it a “significant” proportion of cash, which it needs to find to carry out the multi-million pound build.

The authority is yet to announce the cost of the project, but it will be between £2million and £5million.

The remainder of the cash would come from reserves, borrowing, selling land at Radwinter Avenue and building homes on the remainder of the market site.

A new health centre was first announced in 2006 in the Wickford Masterplan, which was shelved in 2010.

Malcolm Buckley, Basildon councillor for Wickford and responsible for regeneration, said the council was in a financial position to bring more services to the town.

He said: “I’m delighted. I have made it very clear that Wickford regeneration is one of Basildon Council’s key priorities.”

Plans will be submitted within two months with the centre scheduled to open in mid-2015.

No commitments have been made as to what additional treatments will be available, as Basildon’s Clinical Commissioning Group will decide at a later date.

But Mr Buckley wants to see services including blood tests, X-Rays and minor operations.

He said: “We spoke to the clinical commissioning group a week ago and we were very much of one mind about improving access to services for patients in Wickford. We want a range of services.

“Some of it is around preventative cure, such as general fitness and stopping smoking, but there are also people like myself who are diabetic and who need clinics.

“I don’t expect brain surgery at a GP surgery, but we do expect them to be able to change dressings and remove stitches and that hasn’t been available before.”

It is understood the London Road surgery will move into the site, which will be big enough to hold extra services.

Dave Harrison, from Wickford Action Group, said: “What we don’t want is just a relocation of the London Road surgery. What we get in the surgerywill be up to clinical group and, to some degree, the London Road surgery.

“But Wickford Action Group is thankful to have some of the things promised in the masterplan in 2006. This is like a mini-plan.”