THE Laindon community has united to demand its town centre is rebuilt on the eve of a crucial council meeting.
Young and old have had enough of the depressing looking High Road, leading to Laindon station, and the much-publicised rundown shopping centre.
Yet there are no such plans for Laindon.
Labour councillors will demand the ruling Tory administration draws up comprehensive proposals to rebuild Laindon town centre, at a full council meeting tomorrow night.
This could involve a new shopping centre, health centre, revamped train station, plush flats and possibly even new entertainment facilities, such as a cinema or bingo hall.
Dot Drew, 73, of Hoover Drive, Laindon, said: “It’s time the council had a think about what to do with Laindon, because it’s blatantly obvious we’ve been left behind the rest of Basildon. We used to have all the shops you need on the old High Road. There was a butcher’s, greengrocers and more. Now most of the shops are shut and people are too frightened to even come here.”
She added there has been hardly anywhere for residents to go out, since the town centre’s most iconic pubs, the Laindon Hotel and the Fortune of War, were demolished.
Lynda Gordon, leader of the Labour group on Basildon Council, said: “We’re going to ask for a properly co-ordinated development plan to be drawn up for Laindon.
“I can’t understand why no-one hasn’t done it before.
“At the moment, the only development we’ve had in Laindon has been piecemeal and the town centre is getting worse and worse.”
John Dornan, a Tory councillor for Laindon Park, agreed.
He said: “It’s time Laindon had a properly thought out masterplan, like they’ve got in place for Basildon, Pitsea, and Wickford. More and more houses keep getting built in Laindon, but nothing changes with the shopping centre, which is a disgrace.”
Malcolm Buckley, former Basildon Council leader and cabinet member for the environment, said: “We accept Laindon needs comprehensive regeneration, but anyone who thinks we could wave a magic wand and solve all its problems is living in cloud cuckoo land.
“The problem is the council hardly owns any land in Laindon town centre, like we do in Pitsea, Basildon and Wickford.
“A private developer owns the Laindon Centre and Network Rail owns the station.
“We are reliant on those companies to carry out any major renovations.”