Laindon Centre

42 Years ago

Courtesy of Ann Rugg

John found this cutting from the Standard recorder and it just shows that the Laindon Centre was like so many other BDC “what you need developments” a disaster from the beginning. We hope that the current round of “we will provide the community with what they require”, if it ever occurs, actually provides the Laindon Community with something they can be proud of.  

The following is a transcript of the article

Friday, October 15, 1971


*** Oh, what a mess!

THE NEW Laindon shopping centre is “an absolute mess,” according to many old Laindoners.

A storm of angry comment broke out at the Residents’ Protection Association annual meeting at Laindon community centre on Monday.  The row flared when residents were asked if they had any questions to ask a special panel of Basildon Development Corporation officials, attending the meeting.  Target of the attack was the corporation’s chief estates officer, Mr. Alan Radford. One of the residents, who left before the meeting ended, said: “The planners have made a disgrace of the new shopping centre. It’s an absolute mess.”


“The paving stones in the precinct are filthy and have never been cleaned in the past two years. There are no hydrants in the centre so the stones can’t be washed down. It also makes if dangerous if there’s a fire in the shops.  “It’s inaccessible for old people who have to walk all the way from Langdon Hills for their shopping. It’s built on a hill to allow commercial vehicles to park underneath.   ”The footbridge is hardly used because old people can’t climb it, and others are just too lazy. A subway would have made the centre more accessible.   ”The planners have made a disgrace of Laindon.”  His views were echoed by many of the 200 people who attended the meeting.

Another Laindon resident, Mr. Bill Richmond, 65, of Lincewood Park Drive, said: “The only clean part of new Laindon is the public toilets. They are kept spotless.  ”The centre is awkward for a lot of people, especially the elderly. Even the new Health Centre is built on top of a hill, I’m not that old but I have a struggle to get to the front doors.”

Replying to the angry critics Mr. Radford said: “We have had staffing problems as far as the cleaning of the shopping centre is concerned. We are looking into that. I am aware there is no convenient hydrant in the shopping area but plans were approved by the fire authorities, so it is safe.”   He also explained why the footbridge was built and not a subway. “There are large sewers running under Laindon High Road, which would have been disturbed if a subway was built,” he added.

THE POOL outside St. Martin’s Church in Basildon town centre has become a target for rubbish dumpers. According to the Rural Dean, the Rev. Arth ur Dunlop, it is a “cesspool.”

This week he hit out at the people who dump rubbish in the pool and make it a town centre eyesore.   He said: “It used to look very nice and was a decorative asset to the town. Now it collects all types of rubbish. Old prams, shopping trolleys, bricks, and wood have been thrown in it.   ”The corporation cleans it out periodically but it’s a very costly task, and they can’t do it as of ten as is needed.   ”I have put my waders on and gone in to try and clear some of the rubbish, but it’s a long job and I haven’t got the time.”


“A lot of people think the pool belongs to the church, because it’s out the front, but it’s not ours.   ”There has been a lot of building going on in the town centre so I suppose it’s inevitable some building materials find their way into the pool.   ”I don’t really think the pool was the best way to use the area outside the church. Pools and fountains always seem to get messed up. I would prefer the area to be concreted and a few trees to be planted instead. It would be a lot tidier.”

Editor: The newspaper cutting below was added after this article was originally published.

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  • Minnie Chester was my next door neighbour in Falstones and she looked after the toilets in Laindon Shopping Centre – affectionately known as Minnie the loo lady. After Minnie my nan and grandad took over. Bert Morgan and Mary Morgan. They looked after the toilets for a number of years after coming down from East Ham.

    By Lorraine Cooper (17/11/2022)
  • Hi Andrea. Arh, now I understand where you encountered the mud and nearly slipped over. I’m so glad you were okay. Contractors should be made to clean up the areas they have been working on. I approached from the opposite direction so luckily avoided seeing their mess. Apparently, while waiting for the Health Centre to be completed, Dr Long’s surgery was based in the downstairs of a block of flats in Danacre with Dr Millwood and Dr Bass. Dr Rubie, Dr Martin and Cavaroli were based in a surgery adjoined to Dr Martin’s house “Montgomery” in New Century Road. The Laindon Health Centre opened in 1971 and soon both practices moved into the brand new building. The Danacre surgery became a dentist’s. The Health Centre has expanded greatly over the years. There now must be at least 10 doctors, several nurses and nurse practitioners. The plans for a new larger Centre that were revealed at a meeting 4 or 5 years ago appear to have come to nothing. Personally, I feel a perfect situation for a new Health Centre would be site of the former Laindon Hotel which is at present cleared and awaiting a third appeal by KFC for a drive-through and restaurant. I’m sure the people of Laindon have more need of a larger and more up-to-date Heath Centre than another fast food take-away.

    By Nina Humphrey (née Burton) (07/05/2013)
  • Mine was Doctor Long’s surgery. I can only say it must have been getting off at a bus stop and walking through where I encountered the mud made by contractors – my condition didn’t prevent me from noticing being covered in mud.

    By Andrea (06/05/2013)
  • Andrea. I was very interested in your comment about Laindon doctors and the mud from just over 40 years ago because I was also pregnant in 1971.

    I attended their temporary accommodation in the big white house at the High Road end of New Century Road until they moved across the High Road into the new Laindon Health Centre. I saw Dr Cavaroli for anti-natal appointments and my son was born in September 1971 after which I attended the baby clinic regularly.

    I can’t think why, but I just can’t recall any muddy conditions throughout that time. Either I was too pre-occupied with my condition to notice or maybe your doctor was in a different part of Laindon.

    Now I am wondering ‘where have all those years gone’. It seems like only yesterday we were bringing our ‘new born’ home from hospital. Hard to believe they will be 42 years old this year. Best wishes.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (08/03/2013)
  • I remember Laindon 40 odd years ago. Construction work was underway and there was MUD! I had moved from Laindon to Vange, but wanted to keep links with Laindon, so I kept with my Laindon doctors’ surgery. 

    In 1971, I was pregnant and on a visit to the surgery, I almost fell over in the slimy thick mud – it was then I decided it was time to find a doctor in the Vange area.

    By Andrea (07/03/2013)

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