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A Basildon Chronology
2005   2006   2007   2008   2009


Steeple View shop units at Osier Drive, Laindon completed. The four shops units were built to serve the recently completed housing developments on the Steeple View estate. Amongst the first to open in the units, which have a total combined floor space of 376 sqm, is a Costcutter foodstore, April Flower and Balloons florist and the Risal Physical Therapy Centre. Parking for 19 vehicles was also provided.


Bala Mahendran is appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Basildon District Council. He succeeds John Robb who retired in December, 2004. His other duties include that of acting returning officer at general and local elections.


The Five Links estate regeneration programme at Laindon continues with the demolition of maisonettes at Somercotes. Hatterill is still closed to through traffic during this time.

19th March

Allders department store in Eastgate, Basildon closes after going into receivership. Debenhams, who established their first department store in 1905, took over the building soon after.

5th May

Angela Smith (later Baroness Smith of Basildon) (18,820) re-elected Labour MP for the constituency of Basildon and East Thurrock. She won with a majority of 3,142 over conservative rival Aaron Powell.

5th May

John Baron (25,487) re-elected Conservative MP for the Billericay constituency seat which includes Pitsea and areas of Laindon. He successfully defended the seat with a comfortable majority of 11,206 over labour rival Anneliese Dodds. Labour win General Election.

9th May

A blue plaque commemorating the late actress Joan Sims is unveiled at Station House, Laindon. The popular actress of stage, screen and television was born at the house in 1930 and lived there until 1952, being the only child of then station master John Sims. She died aged 71 in 2001 and is best remembered for her roles in 24 of the Carry On series of films. The ceremony was organised by the Joan Sims Appreciation Society, a small group of enthusiasts formed earlier in the decade.

30th July

The Concord Skatepark in Gloucester Park opened. Built on land once occupied by the towns bandstand the skatepark was created through the joint efforts of Basildon Renaissance and the Basildon Concord Rotary Club at a cost of around £190,000. Angela Smith MP for Basildon and East Thurrock attended the opening ceremony.

26th September

The war memorial in Howard Park, Pitsea is designated a Grade II listed monument. It was unveiled in 1928 and previously stood in Station Lane at the junction with the High Road. It was moved to the park (since renamed Howard Diamond Jubilee) in 1969.


Bedsit flats in Thistledown Court, Basildon are demolished as part of Basildon Council's regeneration scheme. The 42 flats in 4 three storey blocks (12 to a block x3 + 1 block of 6) were constructed around the mid 1970s on land adjacent to Church Road. A detached 2 storey house had previously stood in the vicinity until around 1973. The new housing development will provide 37 larger flats for the site.

24th November

Labour Transport Minister Derek Twigg, MP, attends an unveiling ceremony to officially open the new railway station building at Pitsea. Also in attendance is rail operator c2c's managing director Andrew Chivers. The previous single storey building housing the ticket office was constructed in the 1970s to replace the original 1800s built Station House but had been closed for a number of years before being demolished in June 2004.



Lourdes Hall at Whitmore Way, Fryerns demolished. The hall, which was built in 1960, had been home to St. Basil's Catholic Social Club until 2005. It was sold by the Diocese of Brentwood to property developers Bellway Homes who erected 17 houses for private ownership in Whitmore Way and Maplestead. These were in occupation by 2008/2009.


The two escalators linking Town Square with High Pavement are removed. They were constructed in the early 1970s as a link to the newly completed Northgate House and High Pavement development. A glass panelled stairway was also built to provide additional access, but this was later removed during the 1990s as part of the Town Square improvements, that also saw the removal of the Keay House projection and renaming to Southgate House.

1st January

The Federation of Chalvedon School and Sixth Form College and Barstable Schools opened. The new school is an amalgamation of the two existing senior schools. Alan Roach, headteacher of Chalvedon comprehensive, is appointed Principal of the Federation.

9th January

Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron, MP., makes his first visit to Basildon by visiting Barstable School. During his visit to the comprehensive school, which had just become the Federation of Chalvedon School and Sixth Form College and Barstable Schools, he took part in a question & answer session involving sixth form students before addressing parents, governors and teachers with the conservative party plans on the future of education.


Nevendon Community Hall in Church Lane opened. The new hall, located adjacent to St. Peter's Church, was built as a replacement to an army officers mess hut that dated from the First World War. Its cost was met by the church community and funding from the National Lottery. The Bishop of Bradwell, Laurie Green and the Chairman of Basildon Council, Sandra Hillier carried out the opening duties.

14th June

A major fire at the Old Market Retail Park in Pitsea completely destroys a row of retail units. The fire, which is believed to have begun at the rear of the units, quickly spread and the three shops comprising Farm Foods, B'wise and Pets at home were completely gutted in the blaze. The three units, numbered A, B and C, were later demolished and rebuilt on the same site the following year.

3rd September

The Triangle Community Hall at High Road, Langdon Hills is partially gutted following a suspected arson attack. The hall, which was completed in the 1970s as part of the new Triangle shops complex, had been leased by a Muslim community group for use as an Islamic centre. The fire was the third such attack on the multi-use building since the religious group opened its centre and as a consequence caused the group to relocate elsewhere. The building was later restored and from 2010 became the new headquarters for the Basildon and Laindon branch of the Royal British Legion.

1st December

Gifford House Care Home in London Road, Bowers Gifford, opened by the Conservative MP for Billericay, John Baron. The new residential care home for the elderly was built on a site once occupied by Basildon Development Corporation in a former residential home, also called Gifford House, which was demolished in 2002. Amongst others in attendance at the opening ceremony were Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, Chairman of Basildon District Council Cllr. Sandra Hillier and Councillor Geoffrey Buckingham.


1st April

St. Georges Community Housing created by Basildon Council. Operating as an arms length management organisation (ALMO) and wholly owned subsidiary of the Council with headquarters at Dunton Court, Aston Road, Laindon and Alpi House, Miles Gray Road, Basildon they are tasked with the management of the district's housing stock of around 12,900 council homes and the maintenance of rented garages owned by the council. In 2010 as part of a cost cutting move St. Georges relocated to the Basildon Centre. The missing apostrophe in Georges was explained as a clerical error which would have been too costly to rectify. From 04/07/2011, and following consultation with SGCH tenants which included a vote, St. Georges Community Housing was wound up with all assets returning to overall council control.


Work carried out on the demolition of the former Laindon High Road secondary school. The school was sold by Essex County Council earlier in the year. A new housing development built by Bellway Homes called Radford Park now occupies the site of the former school.


Former Borg Warner factory and office complex in Gardiners Lane South, demolished. The factory, which opened in 1961 as York Shipley, manufactured air conditioning but closed in 2006 when the company began a restructuring initiative. Around 450 staff were redeployed to other company locations. Following the site clearance a vast logistics centre was built which later became a computer data processing centre for the world's stock markets.

1st July

Community radio station Gateway FM begins broadcasting to Basildon and the East Thurrock area. Based in Kelting House, Southernhay, Basildon and also from a unit in Eastgate Shopping Centre, the station was initially allowed two 28 day restricted service licence broadcasts a year at 87.7 FM and an on-line webcasting presence. On 24th February 2010 the station was awarded a five year community radio licence and in September 2010 the station, now rebranded as Gateway 97.8, was launched.

24th July

H.R.H. Prince Charles on an official visit is guest of honour to mark 40 years of the Ford Technical Centre at Dunton. Also in attendance was Chairman of Basildon Council, Geoff Buckenham and Lord Lieutenant of Essex Lord Petre.

4th October

The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre at Basildon Hospital is officially opened by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Construction work on the new four storey heart and lung centre, built at a cost of £60 million, began in February, 2005. It opened on 1st July and welcomed its first patients on 2nd July, 2007.


Essex Ford vehicle dealership open an all new car and van facility at Dunton. Located just off the B184 West Mayne on a 5 acre site adjacent to the Ford Research and Development Centre, the new premises features include car and van showrooms, parts and accessories department, used car superstore and service centre as well as a large public car park. It replaces their Cherrydown East, Basildon location of more than 40 years. Its official opening was held on 24th January, 2008.



Demolition begins on the former Essex Ford car showroom and garage complex at Cherrydown East, Basildon. Opened in 1963 as S.E.M. (South Essex Motors), the site offered a wide range of services that included for many years a petrol forecourt. It closed when a new centre opened alongside the Ford Research and Development Centre at Dunton during the first week of December 2007. A seven storey office block called Essex House and once home to Social Services had also stood on the site before being demolished in the late 1990s. Residential apartments built by Weston Homes called Morello Quarter now occupy the site

29th February

The Icon luxury apartment block in Southernhay, Basildon, officially opened by Justin Elcombe, Managing Director of developer, Hollybrook Homes Limited, and Malcolm Buckley, Leader of Basildon Council. This new part residential nine-storey development of 121 one and two bedroomed luxury apartments, with prices starting at £159,995, was built by Hollybrook Property Developers. It stands on a site once occupied by the S.M.A.C. (Southend Motor & Aero Co.) who opened a showroom/workshop and Mobil filling station in 1962. This business later became Lookers and lastly Motor Market before the site fell into disuse in the early 2000s.

12th March

Basildon University Hospital's multi-storey car park comes into operation. The four level car park with space for 1,600 vehicles was built at a cost of £8 million and is intended for public and staff use. Prior to its completion the existing public car park, with around 900 spaces, had been considered inadequate despite being extended onto land leased from the adjoining Basildon and Thurrock college. The extension, which came into use in February 2005, had provided an additional 320 spaces. Use of the car park was free for the first 45 minutes then £3 for up to 8 hours.

28th April

The first phase in the redevelopment of Laindon Shopping Centre begins when the clock is removed from Clock House. In early July demolition of the entire Clock House building and the former Laindon library began. The work was carried out on behalf of centre owners Laindon Regeneration LLP - an arm of Colonnade of Bures St. Mary, Suffolk - who had acquired the site through Neptune Land (Laindon) Ltd., who had purchased it from former owners Lakehill Investments Limited in December 2006.

29th May

The new George Hurd Centre in Audley Way, Basildon is officially opened. John Baron, Conservative M.P. for Billericay performed the opening duties. The new centre was built to replace the original centre which had stood in Fauners (off Cherrydown West) since 1967 and was demolished during June/July 2008 to make way for a new housing development. The centre is named after former Vange resident George Hurd of Homestead, Wharf Lane who before his death in 1966 was chairman of Vange & Pitsea Aged Persons' Welfare Committee and a labour councillor for the Pitsea Ward.


Seevic College in partnership with Prospects and South East Essex Colleges open a learning campus at The Icon, Southernhay, Basildon. Known as New Campus Basildon it offers educational opportunities to over 200 students.

1st December

English Partnerships, the United Kingdom's government's national regeneration agency and successor to the Commission For The New Towns and the Urban Regeneration Agency, becomes part of The Homes and Communities Agency. This new national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England also inherited the Housing Corporation, the Academy for Sustainable Communities and elements of Communities and Local Government.

6th December

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) opened a new Multi Purpose Test Centre (MPTC) at Paycocke Road, Basildon, Essex. The new centre, opened at a cost of £1.5 million, replaces the former test centre in Prittlewell Chase, Southend, which closed on 5th December.

27th December

High Street retail chain Woolworths close their shop at 23 Town Square, Basildon. The store, one of 807 nationally, opened in 1961 as F.W. Woolworth & Co Ltd. in one of the newly constructed units facing Town Square. It became Woolworths in the 1970s and closed when the company went into administration during a recession. The shop was then divided into two units with Poundland relocating from 50-52 Town Square into the larger of the two in 2009. The closure leaves W.H. Smith's as the last original surviving shop to have never moved from their original location in Town Square.



The first tenants on the Radford Park housing estate at Laindon begin moving in. This new 184 home development by Bellway Homes is being built on the site of the former Laindon comprehensive school. The school, which opened in 1928 as Laindon High Road, had closed in 1998 following a merger with Nicholas, who under the new name of James Hornsby High continued to use the school before moving to the former Nicholas site in 2000. The majority of the schools buildings from there on were boarded up and had limited use with the exception of a day nursery, which continued to around 2006. The school was then demolished, along with the caretakers house, during 2007 with development beginning soon after. The estate, which comprises on and two bedroomed flats and two, three, four and five bedroomed houses, is named after the first headmaster of the former school, George Radford, who led the school from its opening until 1949.


First Data Europe Ltd. transfer to the former Visteon UK office headquarters at Endeavour Drive, Basildon. The building, known as Visteon House on the Festival Business Park, previously housed office workers of automotive parts supplier Visteon, which went into administration earlier in the year. The company, which specialises in merchant solutions, had been based at Basildon House (later renamed F D R House) in Christopher Martin Road since moving to Basildon in the 1990s. The Endeavour Drive building has since been renamed to Janus House.

15th January

Essex County Council's average speed cameras on the A127 between Nevendon and the Southend boundary come into force. Painted yellow and fixed above a matching single column gantry frame positioned in the central reservation they calculate a vehicles average speed over a set distance. Covering a distance of 6.2 miles the national speed limit (70 m.p.h.) remained unchanged for the first section between Nevendon and the Dick Turpin public house, a distance of 2.4 miles, while the remaining 3.8 miles has a new 50 m.p.h. speed restriction.

25th/26th April

The Basildon Heritage Trail launched. Covering a distance of 12 kilometres (7.5 miles), the trail route takes in the town centre, Gloucester Park, St. Nicholas Church and the site of the former Basildon Hall near East Thorpe. Local MP Angela Smith attended the opening along with project leader Vin Harrop.


The green open space known as Eastley Park on the Lee Chapel South estate is granted village green status. It became the first village green in Basildon following a long campaign to preserve the area from future development. An application to Essex County Council for approval was heard on 24th April, 2009.

2nd July

A new camping superstore opens in the former Sainsbury's Homebase d.i.y. store at Hazlemere, Pitsea. The store, called Go Outdoors, also specialises in outdoor clothing and climbing equipment and has 16 shops nationwide. The retail unit was first constructed in the 1980s and occupied initially by the do-it-yourself chain Bulk, followed by Texas (Homecare), another d.i.y. chain.

23rd July

Wat Tyler Centre at Wat Tyler County Park, Pitsea officially opened. The Council run visitor centre was built at a cost of £2.2 million in a former War Department building dating from around 1939 when the site was a Sea Transport Depot. New facilities include education rooms and a conference hall. Councillor Mo Larkin, Chairman of Basildon Council performed the ribbon cutting ceremony.

1st September

The Barstable School in Timberlog Close, Barstable becomes The Basildon Lower Academy. Accommodating students aged 11-14 the new academy opened in new and refurbished blocks with the first lessons starting on 4th September, 2009. Barstable originally opened in 1962 as a Grammar and Technical School and later merged with Timberlog Secondary Modern to become Barstable Comprehensive and in 2006 became The Federation of Chalvedon School and Sixth Form College and Barstable Schools. In the 1990s the Timberlog site (known as the Lower School) was sold and developed into a housing estate. Mr Alan Roach, who held the headteachers post at Chalvedon and was Principal of the Federation, is appointed Executive Principal of the Basildon Academies.

1st September

Chalvedon School in Wickford Avenue, Pitsea becomes The Basildon Upper Academy. Accommodating students aged 14-19. Chalvedon School, when first opened in 1965, was the first comprehensive school to be built in Basildon. In January 2006 the school became The Federation of Chalvedon and Sixth Form College and Barstable Schools. The first lessons began on 4th September, 2009.

25th November

A new road linking Ghyllgrove with Cranes Farm Road is officially opened. The new link road, known as the Ghyllgrove bus link and intended for bus and authorised vehicles only (taxis and private hire), was originally planned for completion in the mid 1950s by town planners Basildon Development Corporation. Although the road, called Ghyllgrove, was completed as far as Springfield School, the remainder of the route was never completed; being replaced with a cycle and pedestrian overbridge, constructed in June 1963, which remained until being replaced with an underpass sometime in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The corporation, in one of their final planning applications, submitted a proposal to open a short link road for buses only but this could not be approved as there was insufficient time due to the corporation's winding up order scheduled for April 1st, 1986. A large landscaped earth mound remained which during construction of the new link road revealed previously hidden remains of the former Cranes Farm Road pedestrian overbridge. On 28th June 2010 a spy camera came into operation after motorists were reported illegally using the shortcut.

4th December

The Motorboat Museum at Wat Tyler Country Park closes. Originally opened in 1986 as the National Motorboat Museum the council run museum was home to almost 50 boats and a wealth of archive material. The building then underwent an extensive £1.2 million refurbishment before re-opening in November 2011 as the Green Centre. It is also now home to the Basildon Borough Heritage & Museum Group.

Text researched and written by William Cox, 2005 with revisions and additions 2006-2018.
Copyright © 2005-2018, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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