Squibb kicking up clouds of dust in Basildon this morning (Thursday 16.4)

Brooke House is a residential block in the middle of Basildon town centre. Just to the east of it, East Square and East Walk are being demolished to make way for a cinema and entertainment complex.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues and in the ‘lockdown’ the UK is under, all but essential work is supposed to be on hold. Somehow, we can’t see demolition and site preparation work ahead of the construction of a cinema as essential in any way, shape or form.

As you can see from the image above, Squibb who are the demolition/site preparation contractors are kicking up clouds of dust. No attempt is being made at damping down the site to stop the dust.

In the state of lockdown we’re in, the residents of Brooke House can only leave their homes for essential work, essential shopping or for one period of exercise a day. For the rest of their time, they’re stuck in their flats.

For residents on the east side of the block overlooking East Square, it’s horrendous. On a warm spring day, they can’t even open their windows because of the clouds of dust and the sodding noise.

Clouds of dust… In the middle of a respiratory pandemic, you would have thought that a priority would be keeping the air clean, not allowing the likes of Squibb to be kicking clouds of dust and making a racket. Lockdown is stressful enough but when you can’t even open a window because of the noise and dust, it’s a nightmare.

Basildon Council have a responsibility to the residents of Brooke House which they need to exercise If the council refuse to do this, they need to be called to account in no uncertain terms.

Then there’s this, Thurrock Council sending out their frontline workers with minimal Personal Protection Equipment (PPE): Union threatens strike action as Thurrock Council workers continue to be put in harm’s way by bosses who have reneged on agreement.

Thurrock Council have so far refused to respond to enquiries from the local media regarding the provision of PPE for frontline workers and bullying from management. It’s got to the point where the union, Unite, have threatened strike action if these issues are not addressed. Suffice to say that if frontline council workers do take strike action, they’ll have our full backing.

As we’ve written previously – Parallel realities in ‘lockdown’ Britain? – different standards appear to be getting applied at the moment. Not only that, it would appear that frontline workers are seen as expendable and the views of residents locked down in Brooke House can be callously dismissed. Our councils are supposed to be there to serve us while taking proper care of all their workers. Instead, they’re dumping on us in a way that’s totally unacceptable and won’t be forgotten.