A Basildon Chronology|
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014|
Properties on the Radford Park housing development at School Avenue, Laindon completed. The 184
home estate was built on the site of the former Laindon comprehensive school, which opened as Laindon High Road in 1928. The property developer
Bellway Homes plc acquired the site in 2007 from Essex County Council who closed the school in 2000 after Laindon merged with nearby Nicholas
under the name James Hornsby High. The estate, which is named after the senior schools first headmaster George Radford, features 106 2, 3, 4 and 5
bedroomed houses and 78 1 and 2 bedroomed apartments. Although the school had closed in 2000 it was not demolished until 2007. Planning
permission for the estate was granted on 28/02/2008. The homes in School Avenue, Academy Drive and College Lane all come in a wide range of
styling designs that include: Beaufort, Campbell, Devonshire, Hanover, Harrison, Howard, Johnson, Osborne, Richmond, Russell, Somerset, Stafford,
Tudor and York. The starting price for each property is £175,000
Thurrock and Basildon College merge with
Southend Campus to become South Essex College.
Basildon District Museum opens in the Discovery Centre,
Barleylands Craft Village, Barleylands Road, Billericay. In 2011 the group, which had formed in
2007, became Basildon Borough Heritage & Museum Group and moved to the Green Centre at Wat Tyler
Country Park where they have an office and a permanent display of old photographs.
The Woodsman Poacher, a sculptured carving by the late
local artist Dave Chapple, is removed from St. Martin's Square, Basildon. The popular statue
had been a fixture there since 1997 having been carved from an ancient oak tree felled in Langdon
Hills as a result of the 1987 hurricane. Its removal to Wat Tyler Park, Pitsea by
Basildon Council was seen as controversial and local artists, lead by Vin Harrop of the Our
Basildon heritage project, conducted a wreath-laying ceremony in the square on 22nd January
to mark its loss. Local MP, Angela Smith was also in attendance. The sculpture had suffered
due to neglect and requires treatment before any decision is made on where it might stand in
the future. The council announced plans for the landmark spherical clock, removed from Town Square
around 2007 as part of the High Pavement escalator removal and regeneration programme, to stand
in its place, which were soon realised in March.
The Royal British Legion Basildon & Laindon Branch officially
open their new premises at the Triangle Hall, Langdon Hills. They were previously based at the
former British Legion Hall in High Road, Laindon from 1935 to 1975 when the building was subject
to a compulsory purchase order by Basildon Development Corporation and subsequently replaced
with private housing.
A new landmark Basildon sign is unveiled. The
sign, finished in white with 5ft (1.5m) high letters, was commissioned by Basildon Council and
designed and installed by local company Ace Sign Group at a cost of £90,000. It stands close to
the foot of an artificial hill overlooking the A127 at the A176 junction and will be lit between
dusk and dawn. Its installation attracted television and media reporting which instantly drew
comparison with the iconic Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, America but the local council are hopefull it will
attract more businesses to the town.
The Basildon town centre clock, removed from Town Square
around August/September 2007, is returned following a restoration and relocated in St. Martin's
Square. The iconic 4 faced spherical clock stood for nearly 42 years in Town Square since its
original unveiling in December 1965. It stands on the site formerly occupied by the Woodsman
Poacher sculpture which was removed in January and put into storage at Wat Tyler Park, Pitsea
to await restoration and eventual relocation somewhere within the town.
Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet parish
council formed. 460 local residents had petitioned Basildon Council and following a meeting
of councillors on November 26th, 2009 the plans were approved. The new parish elects seven
councillors who took their seats following an election held in May, 2010. Bowers Gifford and
North Benfleet parish becomes the eighth in the Basildon district.
Stephen Metcalfe (19,624) elected Conservative member of parliament for the newly created Basildon
South and Thurrock East constituency. He defeated Labour rival Angela Smith who had represented the former Basildon and East Thurrock seat since
John Baron, (Conservative) (21,982), is re-elected to serve the new constituency of Basildon and Billericay
which sees some areas of Basildon reunited with the Billericay seat for the first time since 1979. The general election produced the first hung parliament
since 1974. The Conservative party won the most seats and formed a coalition government with the support of the Liberal Democrat Party.
The 15th and final Basildon Festival held at Gloucester Park, Basildon. The two day festival of arts,
culture and music, known as "Basfest" was run and promoted by Basildon Council. It began in 1996 at Wat Tyler Park in Pitsea, transferring to
Gloucester Park in 2001 where more than 30,000 have attended each year since. Due to high running costs the free two day event was axed in February
2011 by the council in a cost cutting measure aimed at saving £80,000. Among the attractions at this years event were american disco group Heatwave,
Basildon's own Eurovision song contest entrant Josh Dubovie, and Kayzar Dance. Previous main acts have included Dr. Feelgood, The Marmalade,
Hugh Cornwell, Midge Ure, Swinging Blue Jeans, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, The Troggs and Gerry and the Pacemakers. To date there
has been no announcement as to whether the festival will return.
Former Basildon and East Thurrock member of
parliament Angela Smith becomes The Right Honourable The Baroness Smith of Basildon. She represented
the constituency from 1997-2010 winning three elections as the Labour Co-operative
candidate and was formally introduced to the House of Lords on 08/07/2010. Her maiden speech
was on 21st July, 2010. She was one of a number of life peers created by outgoing prime
minister Gordon Brown in the 2010 Dissolution Honours list.
Local community radio station Gateway97.8 is
launched. Previously operating as Gateway Fm the station has a studio in Basildon's Eastgate
Centre and broadcasts 24 hours a day to Basildon and East Thurrock after a successful
application for a full time licence was granted earlier in the year. Lord Petre, Lord
Lieutenant of Essex, was present at the radio's opening ceremony whose programmes can also be
heard directly from their own internet website.
Basildon District Council becomes Basildon Borough
Council. An official dedication service, held at St. Martin's Church, Basildon on 6th
December, was attended by Lord Petre, Lord Lleutenant of Essex, who presented the Royal Charter
to Basildon's first mayor Mo Larkin. Also in attendance was Basildon Council's Chief Executive
Bala Mahendran and Basildon Borough Council leader Cllr Tony Ball. The council had applied
for borough status, which requires the Queen's seal of approval, on 24/02/2010 and this
was awarded on 21st July, 2010.
Properties on the Oaklands Grange housing development at Cranes Farm Road, Fryerns completed. The 164 home estate of affordable housing was
built partly on undeveloped land and a gymnastics club training facility. The property developer Bellway Homes plc acquired the site in 2009 in a £7.9
million deal that included land at Markhams Chase in Laindon and the relocation of South Essex Gymnastics Club to Basildon Sporting Village. The land
was sold off by Basildon Council to help fund the £38 million Basildon Sporting Village at Gloucester Park. The new 2, 3 and 4 bedroomed executive
homes in Abrahams Close, Abrahams Way, Liddell Drive, Montague Side and Oakwood Grange all come in a wide range of styling designs that include:
Beaufort, Campbell, Cavendish, Egerton, Fitzgerald, Hanover, Montrose, Neville, Osborne, Richmond, Rutland, Seymour, Spencer, Tudor, Westminster
and York. The starting price for each property is £175,000.
New Campus Basildon, led by Seevic College
in partnership with Prospects College and South Essex College open a second learning campus in
Basildon town centre at Church Walk House, Church Walk. Completed in 1977, Church Walk House was once
occupied by Basildon Development Corporation as a property services and rent office and more
recently by Basildon Council who vacated the building in 2010. An official opening day was held
on Thursday 28th April attended by the Mayor, Mo Larkin, Professor Mike Thorne, Vice Chancellor of
Anglia Ruskin University, Principal and Chief Executive of Seevic College, Sarah Wright and many others.
Census statistics for the Basildon borough;
Markhams Chase Centre in Markhams Chase, Laindon
closes. The council run facility, first opened in January 1989, was sold to property developer
Bellway Homes for residential development to be called Hawks Park. The proceeds of the sale were
put towards the cost of building Basildon Sporting Village at Gloucester Park which opened on 30th April, 2011.
Gloucester Park swimming pool closes. The
swimming pool, in Broadmayne, Basildon opened in 1968 and was run by Basildon Council. A
50 metre replacement pool, built as part of the Sporting Village at the northern end of Gloucester
Park opened on Saturday 30th April, 2011. The final public session was held in the main pool
between 8:00am and 3:30pm.
Basildon Sporting Village opened. The sports
centre, situated at the northern end of Gloucester Park and built at a cost of £38 million,
includes a 50 metre International size swimming pool (the only one in Essex), multi-purpose
sports hall, 100 workstation health and fitness suite, gymnastics centre, climbing wall and
crèche facilities. The grand opening event, with free admission to the public, was held
over the weekend 30th April - 1st May. Students from Northlands Junior School, Pitsea were the
first to enter the water at 10:28am having won the privilege in a competition. The centre was
designed and built by UK construction company Morgan Sindall and operated by leisure management
company Sport and Leisure Management Ltd (SLM) under the brand name Everyone Active. Plans for
a "centre of sporting excellence" were first announced in 2004, ahead of the London Olympic bid,
with work eventually beginning in October, 2009. Its cost, mainly funded by Basildon Council,
has been the subject of critical debate as it involved closing three existing sports facilities
and the proposed sell-off of parts of a number of council owned playing fields for housing
including the site of the former Gloucester Park swimming pool. Two of the closed facilities;
Cranes Farm Road - home to South Essex Gymnastics Club - and the Markhams Chase leisure centre
were sold in 2009 to property developers Bellway Homes with outline planning permission for
Cranes Farm Road dual carriageway project completed. Work
on the road widening scheme began on 22/02/2010 as part of a £14.7 million road project that included
improvements to the A176/A127 exit carriageways. The road, designated A1235, linking the A176 Upper
Mayne to East Mayne (A132), was constructed in stages from the 1950s with the greater part already
dualled by the 1980s. The final section of dualling from west of Gardners Lane South to East Mayne
had also been the first section completed in the 1950s on what the town creators Basildon Development
Corporation called Road 6. Carillion Civil Engineering and subcontractor Toppesfield carried out
the work on behalf of Essex County Council.
Basildon Sporting Village is officially opened by
HRH Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO.
The Royal Anglian Regiment become the first organisation recipient of the Freedom of the
Borough. Under Section 249 of the Local Government Act, 1972 a borough council, of which Basildon had recently become, has the authority
to nominate individuals or organisations as Honorary Freeman of the Borough. The award, which councillors unanimously voted for at an extraordinary
meeting on 14th April, gives the regiment the right to march through the borough with bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying. Basildon Mayor,
Cllr Mo Larkin presented a framed scroll to General John McColl, KCB, CBE, DSO and Colonel of the Royal Anglian Regiment at a special service held
in the Council's offices at the Basildon Centre. The Royal Anglian Regiment is a Light Role Infantry Battalion of the British Army, formed on 1st September
1964 and based in Woolwich, London. It recruits from East Anglia.
St. Georges Community Housing, Basildon Council's
arms length management organisation created to manage its housing stock, is wound up. All
undertakings are returned to overal council control as a cost cutting measure following
consultation with tenants who voted in favour of the change.
Royal Court tower blocks off Brook Mead in Laindon demolished. The
two 10 and 8 storey blocks, both of which were constructed in the 1960s, were removed on behalf
of Basildon Council and later replaced with a new housing development. King Edward Hall, used as
a community centre, was also demolished as part of a £17 million regeneration by contractors Lovell
working in partnership with Family Mosaic and the Homes and Communities Agency. The last occupants
had moved out the previous year.
Whitmore Primary School and Nursery in Whitmore Way, Fryerns opened. The
new school formed from an amalgamation of the former Whitmore infant and junior schools occupying the same site. Iris Cerny is
appointed Head Teacher having previously held the same post at the former junior school.
Boots the Chemist reaches 50 years of continuous trading in Basildon town centre. The long established
chemist, cosmetics and photography chain originally opened at No. 27 Town Square (their present location) on 27th April, 1962. They remained there
until around July 1970 when an exchange of units with No. 21 Town Square, occupied by Timothy Whites, who Boots had acquired in 1968, took
place. In 1981 Boots returned to No. 27 which they then shared with Timothy Whites until around 1985 when the Timothy Whites brand was retired. At the same
time as the 1981 move Boots also took over No. 25 Town Square following J. Sainsbury's move to the Savacentre in Eastgate and merged the two units
together, which is how it remains today.
Basildon University Hospital's new Accident and
Emergency (A&E) department opened. The new unit, costing £17 million, added two extra floors to
the existing building which was also refurbished with a new main entrance. A purpose-built children's
A&E, the first of its kind in Essex, opened on 1st March and new Fracture Clinic, opened in August
2011, were other additional features.
Prime Minister David Cameron and his Liberal Democrat coalition
deputy Nick Clegg visit the Case New Holland tractor plant in Cranes Farm Road.
Howard Park in Pitsea renamed Howard Diamond
Jubilee Park. Basildon Borough Council renamed the park, presented to the people of Pitsea
by the Howard family in 1947, in commemoration of Her Majesty the Queen's 60 year reign.
Poplar House older persons residential apartments at Rectory Road, Pitsea officially opened. Built as a joint enterprise between Sanctuary Group, Essex
Council and Basildon Council, the one and two bedroomed apartments are targeted at the over 55s and can be either shared ownership or rented. Work
began on the project in November 2009 following the demolition of Shaftesbury Court and the finished apartments, totalling 65, all feature a fully equiped
kitchen, fitted carpet and shower. There is a communal garden and the complex, which is run by Sanctuary Homecare Ltd., is staffed 24 hours a day.
The Olympic Torch visits Basildon. 11
torchbearers carry the flame on a route begining at the Sporting Village in Cranes Farm Road and
proceeding along Upper Mayne, Roundacre, Southernhay, Clay Hill Road, Cherrydown East, Station Way,
Ashdon Way and Nether Mayne as far as the junction with The Knares. At the finishing point the
torch then left Basildon for Grays. Prior to its arrival in Basildon, on day 48 of its tour
around the UK, the torch had visited Hadleigh.
Briscoe Primary School and Nursery in Felmores
End, Northlands Park becomes Briscoe Primary Academy.
James Hornsby High School in Laindon changes its
name to James Hornsby School. A new school uniform is also introduced. The school became an Academy
on 01/10/2012 working in partnership with King John School in Benfleet.
Pitsea swimming pool closes. The 25 x 12½m
pool, opened in 1976 at Rectory Park Drive, was closed by owners Basildon Council as part of a
£30 million Pitsea regeneration scheme despite very strong public opposition and a 4,000+
petition. It had been operated from April 2011 by leisure management company Sport and Leisure
Management Ltd (SLM) under the brand name Everyone Active. It was demolished soon after.
Properties on the Hawks Park housing development at Markhams Chase, Laindon completed. The 73 home estate of affordable housing was built over a
portion of Markhams Chase recreation ground, which had been sold off by Basildon Council to help fund Basildon Sporting Village at Gloucester Park. The
property developer Bellway Homes plc acquired the site in 2009 in a £7.9 million deal that included land at Cranes Farm Road. The new 2, 3 and 4
bedroomed executive homes, some of which were built over Markhams Chase Sports Centre which had been demolished in 2011, were given Markhams
Chase, Markhams Close and Leinster Road street addresses and were built to the following styling designs: Beaufort, Campbell, Egerton, Fitzgerald,
Montrose, Richmond, Rutland, Tudor and York. These design styles were shared with Bellway's previous development at Oakwood Grange, Basildon. A
three storey block of apartments called Leinster House was also part of the same development.
Properties on the Archers Field housing development at School Avenue, Laindon completed. The 129
home estate was built on the former Laindon comprehensive school's Archers Road playing field. The property developer Bellway Homes
(Essex Division) Ltd. acquired the site in the 2000s. The estate features 123 2, 3 and 4 bedroomed houses and 6 apartments. Planning permission for
the estate was granted on 23/06/2010. The homes in School Avenue, Masters Crescent and Scholars Crescent all come in a wide range of styling
designs that include: Beaufort, Campbell, Devonshire, Eaton, Egerton, Fitzgerald, Lennox, Lyme, Montrose, Neville, Rutland, Seymour, Somerset,
Tudor, Westminster and York. The starting price for each property is £175,000
The Triangle Shopping Centre at Langdon Hills
is completely gutted by fire. The fire, which began at the chinese takeaway Hong Kong House in
the early hours of Thursday afternoon, quickly spread to the remaining units including McColl's
newsagent/sub post office and Elizabeth Louise hairdressers & beauty salon. It is the second
major fire to hit the council owned centre since it opened in the 1970s. The first, back in the
early 1980s, mainly affected the newsagents causing the post office to relocate during refurbishment
to the adjacent community centre, which itself was the scene of major fire in 2006. Later in March
due to the extensive damage resulting from the fire the entire site was demolished and cleared in
preparation for an eventual rebuild.
The Prince of Wales public house in Wash Road is
renamed The Noak Bridge. The present building, now under the ownership of the Spirit Pub Company,
dates from the mid 1930s having replaced an earlier building dating back to the 1800s. Rose Mead,
92, and a regular at the pub since the 1940s, was the special guest at the re-opening ceremony.
The Long Riding public house closed down. Opened
in 1959 at 301 Long Riding, it was named after the road in which it stands. A special afternoon
and evening disco was held on the last Sunday of trading. The Long Riding, which once had its own
off-license, joins a growing list of public houses to have closed in the Basildon area since the
Demolition of The Railway public house in Pitsea
begins as part of the next stage of the regeneration of Pitsea. Pitsea Market, now on its fourth
move, is set to occupy the site of the former pub which had stood there since opening in 1927 as
The Railway Hotel.
The new bowls green in Gloucester Park
opened. Created adjacent to the Sporting Village and partly where the former Murryfield pavilion
once stood the greens were financed by property developers Barratt Homes who bought the site of
the original greens and facilities for their Acacia Park housing development. Work to create the two
bowling greens and pavilion began in 2012 and involved the removal of a large amount of earth
which were then used to create a single long artificial hill to the west of the cricket
pitch. Basildon Mayor, Mo Larkin officiated at the opening.
King Edward Community Centre Open Day held. The
centre, built in King Edward Court, Laindon, replaced the former King Edward Hall which was demolished
during the Royal Court regeneration scheme. It is owned and operated by the housing association
The first properties on the Dunton Fields housing development at Laindon completed. The 450
home estate was built on a 64 acre site of open fields that formed part of the Ford Research & Engineering Centre. The property developer
Bellway Homes (Essex Division) Ltd. acquired the site from the Ford Motor Company who had owned the land since the 1960s when the Engineering Centre was first
built. The fields had been in the Green Belt since 1957 and subject since Ford's ownership to a restricted use condition in line with their automotive
activities but had been released following changes to the policy framework allowing development in the Green Belt. As part of the development, a new
access link road of the Dunton Wayletts roundabout was constructed and screened from the A127. The estate, which is accessed from School Avenue, features 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroomed houses
and 1 and 2 bedroomed apartments. Planning permission for the estate was granted in two stages, the dates being 13/03/2013 and 25/02/2015, despite
strong opposition by local residents who felt the area was being overdeveloped. The homes all come in a wide range of styling designs that
include: Beaufort, Devonshire, Campbell, Fitzgerald, Hanover, Madison, Montrose, Russell, Sloane, Tudor, Westminster and York. The
starting price for an appartment is £134,995 for a one bedroomed rising to £224,995 for a two bedrooms. House prices start from £249,995 up to
Pitsea market opens on the site of the former
Railway Hotel public house. The Wednesday and Saturday market, which opened in 1925, is now on
its fourth site after moving the short distance from its previous location which it occupied for
36 years. The move also saw a reduction in the number of stalls and units from over 200 down to
89. The final market day on the third site was held on Saturday 4th January 2014. A Friday
second hand market introduced at the previous site was also continued at the new location.
The new Woodlands Comprehensive School in Kingswood, Basildon opened. The new school was built
over a playing field adjacent to the existing school, first opened in 1958 and which was considered outdated with poor disabled facilities. Plannng permission
had been granted by Essex County Council's Development and Regulation Committee on 16th December 2011 and in April 2012 work began on a new
access road to be called Woodlands Approach off the A176 Nether Mayne. This was followed by a 'Groundbreaking Ceremony' on 17th July when the
first mechanical digger arrived on site. The mixed school can accommodate up to 1,500 students aged 11-16, making it amongst the largest in Essex. The
three storey school was designed by Nicholas Hare Architects in partnership with the construction company Skanska, who were also responsible for the
structural design and future maintenance. It is built around a central atrium and has a floor area of 11,360 square metres. Outside features include an
artificial grass playing surface. The cost of the project was put at £25 million, which included demolition of the old school, carried out by (RIS) Reactive
Integrated Services soon after the opening, and landscaping of the old school site. Work on the consultation and planning had involved the then Headteacher
Andy White, who unfortunately would not be in the post on completion having resigned his position in December 2013 over unrelated matters. An executive
headteacher, Mrs Karen Kerridge from The Appleton senior school in Benfleet was put in charge for the opening before a permanent headteacher, Simon Cox, was
appointed later from September 2014. In 2015 Skanska built a £1.800 million vocational training facility to add to the on-site facilities. From 1st April 2015
the school converted to Academy status sponsored by the Takely Educational Trust.
A fire at Bluehouse Farm Community Centre in Laindon Link,
Laindon completely destroys part of the building including the hall used by the Busy Bees nursery. Although the
adjoining social club was unaffected the future of the council owned fire gutted hall is still to be decided.
Street lights in Basildon are switched off between
12:00 midnight and 05:00am as a cost saving measure by Essex County Council. The decision, which
met with widespread disaproval, was expected to save £220,000 annually and affects the whole
county. The initial switch-off was planned for 01/11/2013 but this was rescheduled for 31/01/2014
and then delayed again when Basildon Council questioned the decision, citing fears about crime. Five
housing estates were given exemptions, these being: Felmores, Chalvedon, Pitsea 1, 2 & 3, Craylands
and Five Links in Laindon. In December 2014 Cranes Farm Road was added to the exemptions following
a late night pedestrian fatality on November 30th. From 30th March 2015 the switch-off was rescheduled
for 01:00am to 05:00am with the exception of Sunday, which remains the same.
Basildon's main Crown Post Office located at 25
East Square closed. The counter service, which had existed at East Square in a purpose built building
since July 1963, was closed by the Post Office who, following a consultation period, accepted
a franchise deal transferring the business into retailer W H Smith's Town Square branch from 27/03/2014.
The Mayor of Basildon, Cllr Mo Larkin J.P. officially
opens the new Market Square site at Pitsea. A commemoration stone laid by the Mayor and dated 2014
can be seen on a wall facing the site. Both this and a new Aldi supermarket located adjacent to
the market were completed by Vinci Construction UK on behalf of London and Cambridge Properties.
German discount supermarket chain Aldi open a new
store at Northlands Pavement, Pitsea. The new store forms part of the second Pitsea regeneration
project and was built partly over the former market site and some previously demolished shop units
that once housed the Co-op and Castaways Entertainment Restaurant. Prior to the opening, from 2000,
Aldi had occupied part of the former Sainsbury's building at Rectory Park Drive which was then demolished
as another aspect of the regeneration project. Basildon Mayor, Mo Larkin performed the ribbon cutting
Kent View Road Community Centre officially opened. The
centre, which is located within the recreation ground, replaces an earlier building erected during
the 1970s for the Council's Playleadership scheme. The Mayor of Basildon, Mo Larkin undertook the
Sempra Homes Limited incorporated as a private limited company by Basildon Council for the
construction of domestic buildings. Amongst the first new build properties to be managed by the company are upper floor flats at Lincewood
Court in Langdon Hills and houses at St. Nicholas Mews, Lee Chapel North.
Text researched and written by William Cox, 2010 with revisions and additions 2011-2017.
Copyright © 2010-2017, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgements and Bibliography