Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Five Links troubles

I used to live on the Five Links estate, and I can say that is was designed by a madman. It came at that time when British architecture went collectively insane and threw away hundreds of years of design experience in what actually worked for housing to be replaced by radical 'modern' designs. So we had the early 70s vision of progress, with pedestrian only access, separate parking inward facing designs and courtyards and walkways. Nothing as old fashioned as, you-know, streets. Much of the job of regeneration on Basildon Council is rebuilding those mistakes, heartbreaking when you think that they only have been up for a few decades, and Five Links is a prime example of an estate that needs substantial change. Much has already been done, and the next phase is currently in progress. Unfortunately, there do appear to be some issues with the development, it is an active building site butting up against still-occupied homes and disruption is occurring. So it runs in the Echo, which has produced a great headline, but the detail appears to be that there is dust from the building and that emergency access gates have been blocked. Then it harks back to the initial delay in starting work, which was true but that is clearly not the current problem. Of course we will get into it and ensure that Swan are being as considerate as they should be, but we should not lose sight of the central point. Five Links was an appalling estate, so loved that it's nickname was 'Alcatraz'. Successive regeneration phases under the Conservative Council has removed that stigma and after this phase we want to do even more, because, frankly people do not deserve to live in poorly designed housing. Of course local Labour have weighed in but when we had a Labour Council they did next to nothing to regenerate out estates. It is a bit rich for them to be complaining when Conservatives actually get things done.

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