The Angel Cafe is scheduled to be swept away as part of Thurrock Council’s grandiose scheme for expanding their offices and the overall ‘regeneration’ of Grays town centre: Angel’s fear for future and jobs under council’s office rebuilding plan. We’ve written about this a few times before, looking at what we think are the motivations behind this ‘regeneration’: What’s behind the urge to tart up town centres?

The striking point about the situation with the Angel Cafe and the associated businesses is that despite Thurrock Council being in contact with the landowner, they’ve not made any contact with the owner of the cafe, Sadik Alakirik. The Angel Cafe is right next to the offices of Thurrock Council. Council workers and councillors are frequent users of the cafe on week days. Thurrock Council neglecting/refusing to talk to Sadik shows how arrogant, high handed and out of touch they are.

The council talks a lot about their ‘vision’ for the town centre. What they fail to acknowledge is the human cost of realising that ‘vision’ as businesses are forced to close when the buildings they’re located in get demolished. That’s the hard graft of Sadik Alakirik and his staff facing everything they’ve worked for being trashed in order for the council to facilitate the creation of yet another socially cleansed, soulless town centre.

You can be sure that if the Sadik Alakirik is offered a unit in any of the new development, the rent will be so extortionate, he won’t be able to afford it. You can also be sure that any cafes in any of the new developments won’t be offering food at the affordable prices the Angel Cafe currently offers. This is the human cost of so called urban ‘regeneration’ which is nothing more than barely disguised social cleansing.