|Basildon shown within Essex|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||25.6 miles (41.2 km) WSW|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||SS13 – SS16|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
It lies 32 miles (51 km) east of Central London, 11 miles (18 km) south of the city of Chelmsford and 10 miles (16 km) west of Southend-on-Sea. Nearby smaller towns include Billericay to the north, Wickford northeast and South Benfleet to the east. It was created as a new town after World War II in 1948 to accommodate the London population overspill, from the conglomeration of four small villages, namely Pitsea, Laindon, Basildon and Vange. The new town which took the name Basildon was the most central of the four.
The local government district of Basildon, which was formed in 1974 and received borough status in 2010, encapsulates a larger area than the town itself; the two neighbouring towns of Billericay and Wickford, as well as rural villages and smaller settlements set among the surrounding countryside, fall within its borders. Basildon Town is one of the most densely populated areas in the county.
Some of Basildon's residents work in Central London due to the town being well connected in the county to the City of London and the Docklands financial and corporate headquarters districts, with a 36–58 minute journey from the three Basildon stations to London Fenchurch Street. Basildon also has access to the City via road, on the A127, and A13.
The first historical reference to Basildon is in records from 1086. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book as 'Belesduna'. The name 'Basildon' may be derived from the Anglo-Saxon personal name 'Boerthal' and the Anglo-Saxon word 'dun', meaning hill. In historical documents, this name had various forms over the centuries, including Berdlesdon, Batlesdon and Belesduna.
Railway service started in the 19th century to Pitsea (1856) and Laindon (1888) but it was only later that proposals to provide service to the new town of Basildon, shelved for many years because of concerns that it would simply become a commuter suburb of London, were eventually forced through. A significant number of modern-day residents do commute to London.
By the beginning of the 1900s, Basildon had evolved with much of the land having been sold in small plots during a period of land speculation and development taking placed haphazardly with building by plot owners ranging from shelters created from recycled materials to brick-built homes and with amenities such as water, gas, electricity and hard-surfaced roads lacking.
In the 1940s, Billericay Urban District Council and Essex County Council, concerned by lack of amenities in the area and by its development, petitioned the Government to create a New Town. Basildon was one of eight 'New Towns' created in the South East of England after the passing of the New Towns Act. On 4 January 1949 Lewis Silkin, Minister of Town and Country Planning, officially designated Basildon as a 'New Town'. Basildon Development Corporation was formed in February 1949 to transform the designated area into a modern new town. The New Town incorporated Laindon and Pitsea and was laid out around small neighbourhoods with the first house being completed in June 1951. The first tenants moved into homes in Redgrave Road in Vange. A large, illuminated town sign "Basildon Town Centre Site" at 3.5 feet (1.1 m) was erected in 1956 by the railway and stood until early construction was completed.
The first leader elected for the local government district in 1974 was Ryan O'Rourke. Unusually, since March 2010 Basildon has a miniature famous white Hollywood sign, reading "Basildon": at five feet tall, the new sign is one-ninth of the height of the Hollywood original. This was aimed "to bring the town into the 21st century and to attract more visitors" by Basildon Enterprise Park, its full landscaping and infrastructure improvements funded by £400,000 from the Prescott-spearheaded Thames Gateway. Opponents from all parties believe spending could have been directed toward social problems.
The constituency of Basildon was considered a barometer of public opinion in general elections. The results of the constituency elections have been the same as the overall result of general elections since 1983. Basildon was said to epitomise the working class conversion to Thatcherism during the 1980s, though the town did not vote Conservative in 1979. Nor did the Conservative Party ever hold an absolute majority in the town – its success was due to the split between the SDP and the Labour Party. "Basildon Man" or "Essex Man" was coined to describe an aspirational working class voter. The current MP is Tory politician John Baron. Due to boundary changes, in the 2010 General Election the Basildon and Billericay constituency elected 1 MP and South Basildon and East Thurrock elected another MP. In terms of local politics Basildon District elects five Councillors to Essex County Council. Following the 2009 Local Elections all five of these representatives are Conservative. Noak Bridge has a parish council.
The two main roads from London to Southend, the A13 and A127, pass to the south and north of the town respectively. Both are important commuter trunk roads, and also allow easy access to the M25 and the rest of the motorway network. Locally, the A13 gives access to Pitsea and Vange, and the A127 gives access to the town centre and Laindon.
Within the town are six main roads which link to and from the A13 and A127; all of them include 'mayne' in their names.
- Nether Mayne runs from the town centre to the A13 at Five Bells junction, just west of Vange.
- Upper Mayne runs from the town centre to the A127 in the northeast corner of Laindon. Both this road and Nether Mayne form part of the A176, which continues north to Billericay.
- South Mayne runs from Northlands Park to the A13 at Pitsea.
- East Mayne runs from Northlands Park to the A127 near Noke Wood. Both this road and South Mayne form part of the A132, which continues north to Wickford.
- Broadmayne runs from the town centre to Northlands Park, connecting the four aforementioned roads. It forms the A1321.
- West Mayne runs from the centre of Laindon to the A127 at Dunton Wayletts. It forms part of the B148, which continues east from Laindon to Upper Mayne.
The town has three stations on the London, Tilbury & Southend Line: Pitsea, Basildon and Laindon. All are served by c2c trains running between Fenchurch Street and Southend/Shoeburyness; trains serving Basildon and Laindon stations run via Upminster.
|Proposer||Essex County Council|
|Completion date||March 2011|
Most bus services are provided by First Essex, connecting the town to Billericay, Wickford, and other nearby towns.
Major transport investmentsEdit
A127, Basildon Enterprise CorridorEdit
As part of Basildon's redevelopment Essex County Council had proposed that the A127 undergo significant development at a cost of £15 million which was expected to be finished by March 2011. It was funded via the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF). The project was divided into three sections:
- Section 1 – Eastmayne. Implementation of an additional lane northbound (600 metres approx.) and new drainage and footpath realignment.
- Section 2 – Cranes Farm Road. Included dualling of the existing carriageway of which was already there (1500m approx.) and enhancing and upgrading junctions – with the creation of a dedicated left turn lane at the roundabout at Eastmayne to help ease traffic flows during busy hours at the junction.
- Section 3 – Introduction of a new A176 junction at Pipps Hill. This included upgrading the east and westbound off slips to increase the capacity of vehicles and ease traffic flows. The implementation of queue detection and advanced warning signs was also added to this section of the road. Part of section 3 also saw the introduction of the new Hollywood sign for Basildon at the A176 junction.
The town centre has many high street stores. As well as shops and coffee houses in the open air East Walk and Town Square, there is the covered Eastgate Shopping Centre which is also situated in the Town Centre, home to over 100 retailers.
When Eastgate opened in 1985, it was the largest covered shopping centre in Europe until the opening of the Metro Centre. According to the District Council, at this time Basildon town centre "had the most advanced indoor shopping centre anywhere". It was a novelty as there were no other malls nearby and as a result it became very busy. Eastgate comprises two giant anchor stores, a Debenham's (formerly Allders) and an Asda Supercentre which had been a Sainsbury's Savacentre hypermarket until Sainsbury's decided to sell the store to Asda in 2004, after divesting some of its assets due to serious financial trouble within the company. Eastgate is also home to other major retailers such as H&M, Superdry, Topshop and New Look. Eastgate has undergone a number of face-lifts since 1985. Its most recent substantial refurbishment was in 2007, at a cost of more than £10m.
Further shopping facilities in the town can be found at Westgate Shopping Park, and there is also a pavement market selling fresh fruit and vegetables as well as household goods.
Outside of the town centre, there are retail parks at Pipps Hill and Mayflower on the A127, while there is small shopping centres in Laindon and Pitsea, which is home to a famous market.
Basildon has a heavily developed industrial base. During the construction of the New Town, government grants were given to companies to set up their businesses in Basildon. Amongst the companies that took up these grants were Ford Motor Company (opened 1964), Carreras Tobacco Company (1959–1984), Yardley of London (1966–1998), Gordon's Gin (1984–1998), GEC-Marconi (now home to Selex ES).
Basildon has industrial areas situated in Laindon, Cranes Farm Road and Burnt Mills. Cranes Farm Road is currently home to CNH Tractor Plant, formerly owned by Fords. Argos opened a regional warehouse on Pipps Hill Industrial Estate in the 1990s. In 2015, an Amazon delivery base was opened in Christopher Martin Road.
In 2017, Costa Coffee opened their new coffee roastery in Basildon, of which is said to be Europe's biggest coffee roastery – quadrupling Costa's roasting capacity from 11,000 tonnes per year to 45,000 tonnes. The facility, which is dubbed "Paradise Street" stands at 85,690 ft and can handle around 24 tonnes of coffee beans per hour.
There are several secondary schools in the Basildon district:
- Basildon Academies
- Beauchamps School
- Billericay School
- Bromfords School
- De La Salle School
- James Hornsby School
- Mayflower High School
- New Campus Basildon Studio School
- Woodlands School
Basildon also has three FE colleges:
- South Essex College which is currently based on Nethermayne by Basildon Hospital (planned to move to the town centre 2016).
- New Campus Basildon – formerly part of SEEVIC and based in Church Walk. It was announced in January 2017 that the college would be closing from September 2017.
- PROCAT – formerly Prospects College based at Pipps Hills
Throughout Basildon there are major developments planned estimated to total nearly £2 billion. These include:
- The regeneration of Basildon, Pitsea and Laindon town centres.
- The creation of a health and education research centre near Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital.
- Investment in the Basildon Enterprise Corridor, a large business area.
- The creation of a new wetland nature reserve in the Thames Marshes by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Land Restoration Trust, Basildon District Council and Veolia.
- A review of the district's housing, with investment in housing estates such as Craylands, Five Links and Felmores which will be re-designed to allow for less trouble and having more streets with roads, rather than a street with just pavement.
- There is a proposal for creating Dunton Garden Suburb on land between Basildon and Brentwood. This proposal may have 6,000 homes, together with retail, commercial and leisure uses. This is a join proposal of the two councils and a public consultation ended in March 2015. The proposal has met with criticism from all political parties and the residents group Residents Against Inappropriate Development
Society, leisure and popular cultureEdit
Festival Leisure Park is a trading leisure park located in the north of Basildon and owned by Aviva. The Festival Leisure Park, includes 15 restaurants, a bowling and arcade centre, a family and entertainment centre with play frame and dodgem car track, two hotels, a bar, an eighteen screen Cineworld cinema, two health clubs and a nightclub called Unit 7. The Festival Leisure Park is colloquially known as "Bas Vegas". This name which was adopted by the organisation in charge of the new casino development, who used the slogan on signs welcoming people into Basildon by road. The site was previously home to the Aquatels park which hosted a zoo, ski slope and golf range that opened in 1972.
In 1989 the culture and history of the town was documented by the newly re-opened Towngate Theatre (opened 1988), when it commissioned a community play from Arnold Wesker for the town's 40th anniversary. The potted history that Wesker called "Boerthal's Hill" was acted out by a 100 or so members of the community and portrayed a welcoming haven for visitors. Although it was generally positive in its view of the town, controversy arose where the play touched on the apparent racism of politicians throughout the 1970s. The Towngate Theatre, previously called the Art Centre had been a temporary building located behind the temporary council offices (now home to Westgate) but a new purpose built theatre was built on the opposite side of the former Towngate road.
Basildon Central Library is now based in the Basildon Centre (since 1989), but had previously been in prefabs next to the temporary council offices on Fodderwick. There are also numerous smaller libraries across Basildon: Clay Hill Road in Vange, Pitsea Centre in Pitsea, Fryerns Library in Whitmore Way, and Laindon Library on New Century Road Laindon.
The Borough has a number of leisure centres, including the Basildon Sporting Village, a multimillion-pound project that opened in April 2011. It has a 50m swimming pool, fitness suite, indoor climbing wall and an athletics track. The sporting village is also home to the South Essex Gymnastics Club, a well regarded club where Olympian Max Whitlock trains. The centre attracted over one million visits in its first year of opening. It was also revealed in January 2014 that more people swim in Basildon than anywhere else in the county. There is also a smaller leisure centre named The Place and Eversley Centres in Pitsea which opened in the 1980s.
Basildon was designed with large amounts of green spaces. Gloucester Park dominates the centre of Basildon, with Kent View Recreation ground and Basildon Golf Course in Vange, while Northlands Park does the same in Pitsea. Basildon is also home to Wat Tyler Country park which opened in 1984, Marks Hill Nature Reserve (opened 1981), One Tree Hill Country Park and Langdon Hill Country Parks.
Modern architectural buildingsEdit
The town of Basildon currently has many modern architectural structures due to the town's economic growth. Basildon has many 'tall' structures and buildings in comparison to other New Towns that were constructed in the 1950s–1960s. One of Basildon's first tall buildings was 'Brooke House', a tall block of flats situated in the Basildon town centre. However, since the decline of trade in the town centre, many great business buildings have been constructed in central Basildon.
St. Martin's Church in Basildon town centre is a modern structure. The church was consecrated in 1962 by the Bishop of Chelmsford. A freestanding Bell Tower built in 1999 was opened by Her Majesty the Queen.
Although there are a number of tall buildings in central Basildon, there are also many newly constructed buildings closer to the 'Basildon Enterprise Corridor' situated in North Basildon.
The largest structure in the new town's town centre is Brooke House, a 14-story residential tower block that fronts the west side of the town centre's East Square. Dating from 1962, it was designed by Sir Basil Spence and Anthony B Davies, with Ove Arup and Partners as the structural engineers. It has a 1960s Brutalist design, elevated on 8 massive V-shaped concrete pylons. The building was chosen to have a residential function, as opposed to commercial office space, to retain life in the town centre after the shops had closed. Shops were positioned to the rear of the building, with Brooke House acting as a covered forecourt. It was conceived as a structure to define Basildon's urban status and to act as marker to identify the town centre's location within a largely low-rise settlement set in a flat landscape. It was named after the then Minister of Housing and Local Government, Henry Brooke MP.
East of Brooke House is East Square, a sunken open-air public plaza accessed from Brooke House by a monumental staircase and a curved ramp. The east side of the square is fronted by Freedom House, containing shops on two levels, and the north side by the Post Office building, a 5-story structure. On a wall of Freedom House is the oldest piece of public sculpture in the new town: installed in 1957, it is a wire and aluminium relief by the sculptor A. J. Poole titled "Man Aspires". The whole ensemble was designed to create a formal setting for Brooke House, and has a similar Brutalist design, though softened by other architectural features. The town centre extends from East Square towards the south-west. Down the middle of this zone runs a rectangular raised pool. Within the pool is a bronze sculpture and fountain, titled "Mother and Child", by the sculptor Maurice Lambert and dating from 1959.
Basildon has its own community radio station which is aimed towards the residents of Basildon, East Thurrock, and its surrounding areas called Gateway 97.8 which broadcasts from the Eastgate Shopping Centre.
Although Basildon is situated within the Essex Region, the Town generally receives the London television channels, such as BBC London, and ITV London. This is mostly due to the strong economic links between the Town and the City, and also with the Town being geographically close. ITV London & BBC London are the local television regions received in the town. Basildon Development Corporation had installed a Cable Television service into many of its home – it was called Redeffusion, but this service stopped during the 1990s. The service was replaced by United Artists Cable which were based in the town – this is now Virgin Media (although the customer service operation closed in the 2000s).
Since 1969, The Evening Echo newspaper offices have been based on the Pipps Hill Industrial Estate, while since 1976 the town has been home to The Yellow Advertiser.
A local TV service called Essex Television was launched in December 2015 and broadcast from the studios at Kenneth Road.
- Basildon Town
- Basildon United
- Basildon R.F.C.
- Basildon and Pitsea C.C.
Even though Basildon is a new town there are still traces of its historical past viewable. Old roads that once connected the villages have been incorporated into the new town – Clay Hill Road, Timberlog Lane, Rectory Road, Pound Lane, Church Road, Dry Street. Dry Street is a perfect example of old Basildon, as it an undeveloped country lane that runs through One Tree Hill and Langdon Hill Country Parks
Other than St Martin's Church, most of the historical parish churches still exist. St Nicholas (13th century) sits proudly over Laindon, from where Basildon can be seen clearly, however St Peter's (13th century) at Nevendon is hidden behind Sainsburys and is little known by its residents. St Michael's at Pitsea is said to be 13th century, but was rebuilt in 1870 and now only its Bell Tower remains on Pitsea Mount. The village of Basildon's parish church, Holy Cross, can still be seen in Church Road, while Vange's 14th-century church All Saints was remodelled in the 19th century and is set back from the London Road and is Grade II listed.
Other buildings of note are the Barge Inn at Vange, the Broadway at Pitsea with its mock Tudor architecture built by Harold Howard in 1929, Cromwell Manor (formerly Pitsea Hall) by Pitsea Rail Station that dates from the 15th century and Great Chalvedon Hall (now a pub) in Tyefields which is reputed to be 16th century.
One notable building is Little Coopers Farmhouse which was originally located in Takeley. It was designated a Grade II building in 1980. in the late 1980s due to redevelopment, the whole structure was dismantled and re-built at the Wat Tyler Country Park.
- Perry Bamonte – ex-guitarist, The Cure
- Andy Barcham – footballer
- Brian Belo – winner of Big Brother 2007
- Stuart Bingham – snooker player.
- Emma Blackery – singer-songwriter and YouTuber
- Daniel Brooks golfer on the European Tour
- Darren Caskey – ex-Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and Reading F.C. footballer
- Keith Chapman – creator of Bob The Builder
- Mark Crick – photographer and author
- Depeche Mode – electronic music band, formed in 1980 in Basildon.
- Bob Downs – former professional cyclist
- Josh Dubovie – singer, Eurovision Song Contest 2010 in Oslo, Norway
- Justin Edinburgh – ex-Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Portsmouth F.C. and Southend United F.C.
- Michael Kightly – footballer, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Southend United and Grays Athletic
- Kunt and the Gang – musical comedy act, formed in 2004.
- Robert Marlow – singer
- Terry Marsh – boxer, only English boxer ever to retire as an undefeated World champion
- Eamonn Martin – Athlete and winner of the 1993 London Marathon elite men's race.
- Alison Moyet – singer
- QBoy – rapper
- Gemma Ray – musician, singer, composer and producer
- Scott Robinson, singer from Five
- Simon Segars – CEO ARM Holdings, born in Basildon, went to Woodlands School
- Joan Sims – actress
- Kara Tointon – actress, Dawn Swann in EastEnders and film The Football Factory
- James Tomkins – footballer, West Ham United FC
- Denise Van Outen – actress
- Nathaniel Woodard – educationalist
Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).
|Climate data for Basildon|
|Average high °C (°F)||8
|Average low °C (°F)||3
|Average precipitation days||18||14||16||15||13||13||12||12||14||16||16||16||175|
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