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.