A sad farewell to Markhams Chase

Echo: Sad – Dennis Swaysland outside the Markhams Chase leisure centre in Basildon, which the      council has sold off to help fund the Sporting Village Sad – Dennis Swaysland outside the Markhams Chase leisure centre in Basildon, which the council has sold off to help fund the Sporting Village

THE decision to sell off council assets to pay for Basildon’s new £38million Sporting Village has divided the town.

Basildon Council’s Tory leaders insist state-of-the-art sporting facilities at the Sporting Village will be in a different league to anything seen in the area before.

However, many residents will at best have mixed feelings about the new venue, off Cranes Farm Road, Basildon, because so much is being sacrificed to cover its cost.

One of the biggest casualties is Markhams Chase Leisure Centre, off Markhams Chase, Laindon, which recently closed after Basildon Council sold the site to housing developers Bellway Homes for £7.9million.

Many people have happy memories of using the old pool, gym and other facilities.

Dennis Swaysland, 76, of Beauchamps Drive, Wickford, who led a doomed campaign to save the sports centre that first opened in 1989, said: “The building was still 100 per cent in good condition and didn’t need to come down.

“The gym there was small, but it was good and the staff were nice. You don’t need an Olympic sized pool either, like they’ve built at the Sporting Village.

“The smaller one at Markhams Chase was more than big enough for kids to enjoy themselves and learn to swim.”

He added there were two squash courts at the old sports centre which will not be replaced in the Sporting Village.

John James, 73, of Somercotes, Laindon, had fond memories of the staff at Markhams Chase.

He said: “You get more of a community atmosphere in little more local leisure centres like that and it was ideal because I could walk over there.

“Nothing was too much for the staff. They used to look after elderly people when it came to aerobics and using gym equipment.”

Shenda Leatt, 42, of Pound Lane, Laindon, said: “I enjoyed going to Markhams Chase for aerobics classes, over four or five years, with my friends. My daughter used to play badminton there too.”

John McKay, 63, chairman of Lee Chapel North Community Panel, claimed large numbers of people are still angry the old leisure centre closed.

He said: “My grandchilden used it for dance classes and football and my daughter went the gym.

“It will be a big loss and I won’t be going to the Sporting Village, as I think there were lots of better things the council could have ways to spend our £38million.”

Moira Brock, 60, of Mellow Purgess, Laindon, agreed: “Markhams Chase will be sadly missed and a lot of people are fuming that it’s gone.”

Other facilities set to be sold off to help fund the Sporting Village are the old Gloucester Park Swimming Pool, off Broadmayne, and playing fields at Kent View recreation ground, Vange, Pound Lane, Laindon, and Northlands Park, Pitsea.

Olympic legend Sebastian Coe praised the Sporting Village when he visited last month.

Lord Coe, 54, told Basildon Council leaders he was very impressed with the venue, which will have the largest swimming pool in the region.

Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, believes local critics will be won over once the giant leisure centre opens on April 30.

He said: “It’s always sad when things close. However, I hope when people go to Sporting Village they will think it was worth the loss, because the facilities will be so much better.”

He added the council will subsidise swimming, badminton and other key sports at the Sporting village to ensure prices remain affordable.

He said: “The Sporting Village is only a short distance from Markhams Chase so I hope people will come and see what it has to offer.”

Comments (9)

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4:48pm Sun 10 Apr 11

el caballero de la noche says...

Didn't we say goodbye last week I recollect seeing this guy with the tea cosy on.
Didn't we say goodbye last week I recollect seeing this guy with the tea cosy on. el caballero de la noche
  • Score: 0

7:38pm Sun 10 Apr 11

Last Poster says...

Is it only sport that these parks are used for? How about the local residents with the postage stamp gardens that were guaranteed this parkland because of the illegal size of their gardens? It is not only the pool that is going from Glouscester park, it is the old tennis and netball courts and worst of all, the massive area of green parkland that contains the play leader building. It is this small hut that council claim gives them the right to declare that area brownfield (As they do with the old ball courts, whilst the new ones are built on greenfield!)
Come the referendum and EVERYBODY should vote for the new system. This will get rid of the smug "Safe seat" system, allow people to vote for area reps instead of outdated party politics and stop Basildon being run by the bunch of thieves from the surrounding towns.
Is it only sport that these parks are used for? How about the local residents with the postage stamp gardens that were guaranteed this parkland because of the illegal size of their gardens? It is not only the pool that is going from Glouscester park, it is the old tennis and netball courts and worst of all, the massive area of green parkland that contains the play leader building. It is this small hut that council claim gives them the right to declare that area brownfield (As they do with the old ball courts, whilst the new ones are built on greenfield!) Come the referendum and EVERYBODY should vote for the new system. This will get rid of the smug "Safe seat" system, allow people to vote for area reps instead of outdated party politics and stop Basildon being run by the bunch of thieves from the surrounding towns. Last Poster
  • Score: 0

10:42am Mon 11 Apr 11

shallotman says...

Seem to recall that when the Council suggested Basildon Rugby Club be relocated there, the locals were up in arms, maybe now it wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Seem to recall that when the Council suggested Basildon Rugby Club be relocated there, the locals were up in arms, maybe now it wasn't such a bad idea after all. shallotman
  • Score: 0

11:04am Mon 11 Apr 11

ConkerBonker says...

BOOT THE TORIES FROM BASILDON

Basildon's Tory Tony stars in this video

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=TQDADc2Jy
d8
BOOT THE TORIES FROM BASILDON Basildon's Tory Tony stars in this video http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=TQDADc2Jy d8 ConkerBonker
  • Score: 0

1:35pm Mon 11 Apr 11

RJD_Wiz says...

Well, well...what a surprise!..Selling more land to make way for MORE 'affordable housing' in Basildon!
WTF?????????? How many more homes/flats etc..are they going to build on an already full town??
My daughters love going to that park to ride their bikes & feed the ducks...Another one bites the dust. It makes me sick. Only last week I posted a comment on an article here...about more places being sold off....probably for more housing...
Well, well...what a surprise!..Selling more land to make way for MORE 'affordable housing' in Basildon! WTF?????????? How many more homes/flats etc..are they going to build on an already full town?? My daughters love going to that park to ride their bikes & feed the ducks...Another one bites the dust. It makes me sick. Only last week I posted a comment on an article here...about more places being sold off....probably for more housing... RJD_Wiz
  • Score: 0

2:48pm Mon 11 Apr 11

el caballero de la noche says...

ConkerBonker wrote:
BOOT THE TORIES FROM BASILDON

Basildon's Tory Tony stars in this video

http://www.youtube.c

om/watch?v=TQDADc2Jy

d8
Tories Labour Liberal has anyone really noticed any difference in any of them ?

Might as well vote for 'Noddy'
[quote][p][bold]ConkerBonker[/bold] wrote: BOOT THE TORIES FROM BASILDON Basildon's Tory Tony stars in this video http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=TQDADc2Jy d8[/p][/quote]Tories Labour Liberal has anyone really noticed any difference in any of them ? Might as well vote for 'Noddy' el caballero de la noche
  • Score: 0

4:08pm Mon 11 Apr 11

stropmag says...

el caballero de la noche wrote:
ConkerBonker wrote:
BOOT THE TORIES FROM BASILDON

Basildon's Tory Tony stars in this video

http://www.youtube.c


om/watch?v=TQDADc2Jy


d8
Tories Labour Liberal has anyone really noticed any difference in any of them ?

Might as well vote for 'Noddy'
The majority would have had his name appeared on the ballot paper.
[quote][p][bold]el caballero de la noche[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ConkerBonker[/bold] wrote: BOOT THE TORIES FROM BASILDON Basildon's Tory Tony stars in this video http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=TQDADc2Jy d8[/p][/quote]Tories Labour Liberal has anyone really noticed any difference in any of them ? Might as well vote for 'Noddy'[/p][/quote]The majority would have had his name appeared on the ballot paper. stropmag
  • Score: 0

12:17am Tue 12 Apr 11

Trainman says...

Markhams Chase HAS, AND ALWAYS will be in LAINDON and 100% definately NOT in Bl**dy Basildon, for crying out loud!
Markhams Chase HAS, AND ALWAYS will be in LAINDON and 100% definately NOT in Bl**dy Basildon, for crying out loud! Trainman
  • Score: 0

2:26pm Tue 12 Apr 11

geezer, innit says...

not too far to walk to the new Sporting Village though is it? Although how many people would walk rather than take the car is another matter.
not too far to walk to the new Sporting Village though is it? Although how many people would walk rather than take the car is another matter. geezer, innit
  • Score: 0

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