A BID has been launched to open a new cadet training centre in Basildon.

The Reserve Forces and Cadets Association has applied to knock down the Air and Army Cadets Forces headquarters, in Cherrydown West, and replace it with a pupose-built training facility.

They have managed to secure half of the funding, but still need more money to see their vision become a reality.

The site, which is used by the Air Training Corps and Army Cadet Force, is currently made up of two 1960s timber-framed buildings and a cabin.

A lack of wheelchair access and basic toilet facilities mean it is not suitable for the 90 youngsters who train there every week.

John Laws, from the Reserve Forces and Cadet Association, based in Chelmsford, would not say how much funding they needed in total, but it is thought to be in the thousands of pounds.

He said: “What we’ve got at the moment is not really fit for purpose.

The buildings are outdated and beyond repair.

“We’ve got a proportion of the funding already sorted, but we are waiting to see if we can get any more. The project is in the very early stages.

“There is a lot of regeneration going on in Basildon, so hopefully our purpose-built centre would bring something to the area. It will be a real community facility.”

If given the go-ahead, the building project is expected to start next April.

The brick-built centre would include lecture rooms, a shared main hall, offices, storage rooms, toilets, and a kitchen area.

Cadets currently train three evenings a week, and the centre could be hired out to community groups when it is empty. Geoff Williams, leader of the Lib Dem party and ward councillor for Nethermayne, welcomed the proposals.

He said: “I think it sounds like a very good idea. The building has been there a long time so it could really do with being updated.

“There is nothing in that area which is on that scale. I would imagine it would be of use for a lot of people, especially community groups which need somewhere to meet.”

Basildon Council is expected to make a decision on the plans by June.