Brooke House for those not familiar with Basildon is the iconic 1960s built tower block right in the middle of the town centre. When Brooke House was first conceived, the idea was that it would be used to house professional people such as lawyers, doctors, etc. It never really worked out as the aforementioned professionals preferred to live in leafier locations such as Billericay.
Brooke House has had a somewhat chequered history over the decades. At the moment, to all intents and purposes, it appears to be subject to a policy of managed decline. Presumably, that’s to ‘encourage’ tenants to move out as soon as they get the opportunity so the block can be emptied and flogged off to a developer, allowing Basildon Council to trouser the cash. The fact that it takes endless nagging from Brooke House Residents Basildon and the two ward councillors to get anything done for the block backs up the impression there’s a policy of managed decline.
Brooke House is being used to house parents with children. Think about that. A tower block, slap bang in the middle of a town centre with nowhere outside of it that’s safe for kids to play is being used to house parents with children. Not only that, they’re often housed a long way up the block. Which when the lifts break down, makes life for a parent trying to move a toddler, a push chair and quite possibly some shopping as well, an absolute nightmare.
With the noise they get from building works in the town centre starting at 6am in the morning, various buskers and other events going on during the day in the squares through to the yobs and homeless people kicking off in the evening and at night, it’s no wonder that many residents of Brooke House are fed up and want out. With the housing situation the way it is at the moment with no new social housing being built and a long waiting list for those who need it, people trying to transfer out are likely to find themselves moved right out of Basildon. So effectively, they’re trapped.
Basildon Council need to take a long hard look at themselves and their housing policy. A council that can only offer parents with kids housing in totally unsuitable conditions such as a town centre is in our view, unfit for purpose.