The iconic, 1960s designed Brooke House tower block is slap bang in the middle of Basildon town centre. One the shops have closed, the town centre can become a pretty scary place. As the dysfunctional society we endure is currently in the process of a slow collapse, the symptoms of that will manifest themselves in our town centres in the form of nihilistic anti-social behaviour. A cursory glance through the Brooke House Residents Basildon Facebook group will bring home how that anti-social behaviour is impacting the lives of residents in the block.

We’ve already posted up some thoughts on how to deal with anti-social behaviour on estates: How do we deal with the wreckers? Which is fine as far as it goes but doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how to deal with anti-social behaviour in a town centre right besides a residential tower block. Unlike an estate where anti-social behaviour can have consequences, the anonymity of a bleak town centre offers the yobs a perfect, almost consequence free canvas for their antics.

During the summer months, once the shops close of an evening, the intimidating behaviour of the yobs is pretty much making people prisoners in their own flats as they don’t want to take the risk of going outside. The noise goes on into the early hours of the morning, leaving adults and children living in Brooke House deprived of sleep, stressed out and suffering mental health issues as a result. At the time of writing, Essex Police have imposed a dispersal order on the town centre but, judging by the anecdotal reports seen so far, most residents feel this is little more than a paper exercise.

As stated earlier, what we’re dealing with here are the symptoms of social breakdown and collapse. What’s happening in Basildon town centre is the end result of a dysfunctional, neo-liberal, dog eat dog society where people look out for themselves. The extreme version of this are the yobs who have no concept of community, no sense of responsibility to the neighbourhoods they live in, no sense of a wider social responsibility, no sense of decency and an uncontrollable urge for self gratification. The people described by the Independent Working Class Association in Dealing with the renegades as being ‘actively hostile to, the interests and well-being of the working class proper’.

There’s no easy solution to a problem that is yet another unwelcome symptom of the slow slide to social collapse. Should Essex Police suddenly find the financial and human resources to flood Basildon town centre with cops every evening during the rest of the summer, we suspect that every yob in the area would see this as a challenge with the possibility of a mini-riot kicking off.

Lastly, why the f*** are Basildon Council housing households with children in a tower block slap bang in the middle of a town centre with nowhere for children to go out and play? A local authority with any sense of humanity and decency would ensure that households with children were housed in more suitable accommodation. Sadly, local authorities with a sense of humanity and decency are a rarity in an increasingly dysfunctional political, economic and social system heading ever deeper into crisis.