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Lee Chapel North: Open Space


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Open Space - Lee Chapel North Open Space - Lee Chapel North Open Space - Lee Chapel North
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Location: Lee Chapel North
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: September 2006
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: The bench was removed around 2008.
Location: Lee Chapel North
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: September 2006
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: Slide and swings. The slide and safety matting was also taken away around 2008 and not replaced.
Location: Lee Chapel North
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: September 2006
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: The 4 swings and safety matting.
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Open Space - Lee Chapel North Open Space - Lee Chapel North Open Space - Lee Chapel North
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Location: Lee Chapel North
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: September 2006
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: The single goal has been a feature of the park since at least the 1970s.
Location: Lee Chapel North
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: September 2006
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: Concrete starting grid is all that remains of the cycle speedway track used by Basildon Orkans in the 1970s.
Location: Lee Chapel North
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: September 2006
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: The faint outline of the inner curve can just be made out in the grass pattern.
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The open space or parkland at Lee Chapel North was created by Basildon Development Corporation in the 1960s during the construction of Basildon new town. It covers around 15.5 acres and lies to the east of Ballards Walk and is bordered by Upper Mayne, St. Nicholas Lane, Little Lullaway and Ballards Walk. In the early years much of the area was dense woodland and scrubland with the exception of a main green which in places runs parallel with a pathway and cycle path.

In the 1970s a cycle speedway track was created which was used by Basildon Orkans for their home fixtures. The track was 86 yards x 18ft had a shale surface and was named after the nearest road to its location; this being Little Lullaway. They later transferred to a track at Wickhay adjacent to St. Anne Line School and still within Lee Chapel North. The track appeared in good usuable condition as late as February 1988 but as of today the original concrete starting grid and some cornering is all that remains, though the outline of the track can still be made out when the grass is cut.

The open space is also used as a children's park. The first item of equipment was a large wooden playhouse which was moved there in the late 1960s from its original location at Knights on a neighbouring housing estate. In the 1980s a series of paths were created and hard standings laid for use as an exercise assault course. Swings, a slide and various other small play equipment for children was added during this time.

The open space has in the past also been used as a temporary unofficial traveller site. The council eventually installed concrete filled metal posts at various points as well as earth banking to deter return visits.

In 2011 the name Brewitts Path appeared on signposts along the cycle path route. This was in recognition of the former Brewitt's Farm on whose fields the area and parts of Gloucester Park now cover.

In April 2011 Basildon Sporting Village opened in Gloucester Park which was built to replace Gloucester Park Swimming Pool, the Markhams Chase Centre and a Basildon Gym Centre off Cranes Farms Road. All three sites were then sold to developers for private housing in payment against the £38 million cost of the sporting village. Some years earlier the now council owned open space at Lee Chapel North had been earmarked as a site for future housing, and in order to meet a shortfall against the cost of the sporting village Basildon council proposed to sell off a large part of the open space for housing. In an attempt to save the land from future development local residents applied for village green status, which the council objected to, and a planning inquiry was then held. The outcome determined that a small portion could be retained in the event of any future development.

In 2013, in another controversial planning decision, the conservative run council voted in favour to develop 60% of the land for housing.

The developers began fencing off the site on Monday 8th June 2015.

Page added: 2013
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Text researched and written by William Cox, 2013 with revisions 2013-2015.
Copyright © 2002,2015, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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