doc

FAMILIES have criticised a housing association for taking two years to build a playground and play area on their estate.

Two years ago Swan Housing agreed to replant trees around Laindon’s Five Links estate after they were pulled down to make way for new homes and an access road.

They also promised a much-needed green space and play area to provide entertainment for youngsters after older equipment was removed.

Edward Gallagher, 60, of Newberry Side, said: “The idea of this estate was that cars would be kept on the outside and the inside would be for the children to play freely.

“Now they have even built a brand new road right through the middle of the estate. There’s a small green area but no play equipment or a proper park. The children on this estate need and deserve a nice area.”

A £27million regeneration project began on Five Links in 1995 to build 600 new homes and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour on the once-troubled estate.

Residents now fear that Swan Housing has run out of money and finishing touches may not be made to the scheme.

Mr Gallagher added: “Me and my neighbours have all tried getting in touch with Swan Housing but all they keep saying is that they don’t know anything about it. It makes you think whether they’ve run out of money.

“They’ve put trees up around the front houses but once you get to the middle of the estate it’s just been left.”

Swan Housing claim that once Basildon Council give the go ahead for the playground, work will begin.

A spokesman said: “Swan is committed to providing new play equipment at the play area in Newberry Side. The previous play equipment had to be removed as it was considered to be dangerous. Swan will be re-equiping the play area with up-to-date equipment.”