Basildon's Conservative Council regeneration portfolio is not short of major projects. This reflects our activist approach to improving our community. Basildon Tories don't just sit about, we get things done despite jibes from our local Labour party. I remember a comment from a Labour Councillor a while ago while we were discussing our plans in a Council meeting along that lines that 'you haven't built anything yet'. Well the George Hurd Centre opened recently, a £2m centre for the elderly housing a day centre and offices for voluntary organisations working with the elderly. We have now been asked by the Audit Commission if they can use that project as an example of best practice by Local Authorities, because of the way we managed to get it built at no cost to the Council as part of a land swap deal that also saw the provision of affordable and social housing for our people. Our next opening is likely to be the Heritage Centre at Wat Tyler park, which has been paid for largely by Lottery funding and which will boost the attractiveness of what is already an excellent public asset. Building work is progressing well and the project is on time to complete for an opening next year. This compliments the other regeneration efforts in Pitsea, which are also proceeding apace.
The only cloud on the horizon is the general economic malaise, which has hit the property industry especially hard. This has had the effect of winnowing out poor projects around the country, and all of ours are still in progess, but recession and uncertainty are not friends of large-scale regeneration. Better national leadership can make a real difference here. Can we have some please?