Details about the planned future of Basildon town centre are now starting to emerge: Pub and shops to make way for 492 flats on Market Square, Basildon. Briefly, a 17 storey block of flats is scheduled to replace the Moon on the Square pub and a number of neighbouring buildings. If you think 17 storeys is excessive, discussions are underway about a 28 storey block to go on the site of the former Marks & Spencer store in Town Square. Also, the market which cost a fortune to be relocated, is set to be relocated yet again, this time to Town Square.

For those of you who enjoy wading through planning documents, this is the one for the 17 storey block that would be replacing the Moon on the Square.

Now the Basildon Council ‘consultation’ about the town centre masterplan is over, it looks as though they want to move their plans for what will be total transformation forward as quickly as possible. Presumably this is to stall any opposition that may be growing to the plans for the town centre which may reflect itself in the way people choose to vote in the May 2021 local elections. It may be a bit over-dramatic but this is akin to ‘shock doctrine’ tactics to force through drastic changes while disabling any opposition.

As we’ve stated before, most Basildon residents want to see regeneration in a town centre that has been neglected for years. Also, the principle of building residential properties in town centres is actually quite a sound one in theory. Historically, most of our town and city centres had a significant amount of homes in them up until the 20th century when the thinking on urban planning started to change and there was a growing degree of zoning between different building uses.

If the proposed residential units in Basildon town centre were designed to a human scale, didn’t rise any higher than 6-8 storeys, all came with balconies and last but by no means least, were genuinely affordable to rent, we suspect people would be more supportive of the idea. What the residents of Basildon are getting foisted upon them against their will are high rise hell towers that will do nothing to solve local housing needs. Which is why opposition to the plans as they stand has to continue…