We’ve written extensively about the ‘lockdown’ the UK is under at the moment, supposedly aimed at controlling and then reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus: The COVID-19 crisis and the loss of freedom. But, it’s not a complete lockdown. While many of us have had strict conditions imposed upon us as to what we can do, and where we can go if we have to leave our homes for ‘essential’ reasons, for some sectors, it’s pretty much business as normal. Obviously, this does not apply to the health and care workers through to those working in food processing, distribution and retailing who have to go to work to keep things going for the rest of us.

What we want to highlight are the non-essential activities that seem to be carrying on regardless. One being Squibb continuing with the demolition of East Square and East Walk in Basildon town centre plus associated preparatory work to ready the site for…the construction of a cinema complex! This is what we were sent by a contact who lives in Brooke House which is right next to the demolition site:

On Sunday 29th March Gavin Callaghan (the leader of Basildon Council) posted this: “Xxxxx Xxxxxxx the government, not the council, has told construction sites that they can stay open. We have encouraged all of our contractors to withdraw from sites and in all bar two they have. In the cinema case Squibb will be off site within a week and have significantly reduced their workforce. McLaren will not be starting on site. I’d write your MP and ask him why the government aren’t getting tougher on lockdown.”

A week later Squib has begun working again on the site after the weekend break.

Xxxxx Xxxxxxx: There are MORE people there now than last week. This is a Basildon Council project, who is in charge? Who even knows what is going on! We residents were involved in discussions, we were promised information and consideration, none of this is happening now. You wrote that the work would stop this week, who is misinforming us. We are stuck in doors with this.

Who is in charge of Basildon Council’s Cinema project?

As you can see from the images above, physical distancing is not being observed on the site. With the rest of us observing physical distancing protocol in the queue to get into the supermarket and voluntarily staying away from anywhere outdoors where there is the slightest chance of a crowd forming see this, please forgive those of us who are starting to get a bit pissed off at the double standards applying here. FFS, demolition and preparatory work to ready a site to build a cinema complex cannot, in the midst of a supposed emergency, be remotely considered as ‘essential’ work in any way, shape or form. Something really is not adding up here…