Basildon, Essex, Property guide and review
Written by Anonymous Visitor and posted in East Anglia, Essex, United Kingdom

Some people don’t know that they’re born. How can they possibly class largely middle-class Essex communities such as Billericay and Brentwood as “c**v towns,” when the mother of them all, the capital city of Chavdom and South Essex’s own Gotham City lies menacingly just over the horizon? They simply aren’t in the same league.

In a town such as Billericay the good citizens get easily upset by the antics of children and teenagers and by many other things. They think that their town is being invaded by yobs if they see a child go past on a skateboard or somebody wearing a baseball cap, and that it is turning into a mini-ghetto.

They actually love a good reason to protest and to write angry letters to the local rag, their hands shaking in righteous indignation at the latest threat to the peace of their prosperous existence. If they can rabble rouse a group of fellow pensioners to start a protest campaign, then so much the better. Billericay and similar towns are the epitome of middle-class, educated, professional, white England. Amidst their detached houses and green lawns, the smallest thing upsets the residents. But they forget that just down the road lies a seething mass of chavite humanity which makes their town look like a veritable paradise.

Basildon New Town. Even the name sounds ugly and strangely fitting for such a town. The town that spewed me out into the world 27 years ago. Half a century previously, the area that became Basildon consisted mainly of field, farm and woodland. Then, the powers that were decided to construct a new town, a “city of the future” as an overspill for the London slums. It was supposed to be a classless town, the finest that civilisation could produce, plonked down near the Thames. For the people of the late fifties it must have been an impressive place. Futuristic concrete buildings were thrown up amidst the green fields. Dual carriageways and countless roundabouts were splayed across the landscape. Dwellings that were both ugly and functional were arranged in sprawling council estates and people were re-housed in the growing community.
Basildon was thus born and the rest is history.

So at which point did the Basildon experiment go wrong? It’s hard to say exactly. All I can say is that a tour through the mean streets of the “New” Town will provide you with a sure conviction that something did indeed at some point go wrong. Whether it was the lack of history and sense of belonging that you find in older towns, the abundance of poor quality housing, the low social class of the inhabitants or the soul-destroying lack of spirit that caused Basildon to turn out the way it did, I can’t be sure. One day, sociologists will do a study on it.

The heart of Basildon is the concrete wilderness that is the town centre. For a place that looked so modern and forward looking in the fifties and sixties, it now appears incredibly shabby and dated. The looming buildings, the over-use of concrete, the shady back allies and multi-storey car parks. It’s like a small part of inner city America in Essex and feels strangely un-English. In recent years there have been some modest attempts to smarten up the town centre a bit and there were grandiose plans (before the credit cruch) to redevelop much of it into what amounts to a 21st century town. But this seems to have been delayed or cancelled altogether.

Admittedly the shopping facilities of Basildon aren’t that bad, although the complete lack of historical buildings in the town leads to an absence of character, of human warmth. You want to get out as soon as possible and head to some market town or cathedral city where you can feast your eyes on something old. Basildonian people wander through this concrete mass in droves. Many of the older folk are remnants of the Old East End of London and are decent cockney types. But the younger generation are quiet different and it is here that you witness c***s en masse as they parade their bling. I won’t go into the familiar descriptions of chubby girls in pink or baby blue Nikelson garments with massive golden earrings, effing and blinding constantly, shouting and swearing at their kappa-clad offspring with names such as Tyler, Brandon, Bailey or Disney. Nor is it necessary to go into detail when describing Darren or Bradley, their live-in boyfriends, who slouch through town on the way to Pound Land or “Mackie Dees.” Yeah mate. The town is full of such people and they feed off it, just as it feeds off them. This is symbiosis in its mosts basic form.

Whilst on the subject of discount shops, I have never seen a town with so many. Pound Saver, Pound Land, Quid Saver, 99p Store, Tat Land as well as the market. They are all here and are doing a thriving business. There are also many charity shops and those cruddy fly-by-night enterprises that pop up selling Christmas decorations or fireworks and then promptly shut down again. This is the land of plastic, made-in-China, raw consumerism. You buy what the telly adverts on the plasma screen tv tell you to and conform to the stereotypes that Essex dreams are made of. What do you do when you want something to fill your belly? Why, head down to McDonalds or any of the other fast-food joints in this pastiched, false fast-food town, and gorge yourself on grease. Free thinking is subversive in this pleasure seeking world and you must conform and gratify your senses.

One strange thing about Basildon is that the town centre is virtually deserted in the evenings. Apart from a couple of dodgy pubs, a theatre (!) that barely operates, a seedy snooker club and “Colors” gay nightclub, there isn’t any other evening economy in town. No quality restaurants or cultural facilities to be found here. Most of the nightlife is to be found on “Bas Vegas” or to give it its official name, “the Festival Leisure Park.” This is a dream-landscape of pure hedonism situated on the edge of the town. It is the place to come if you want to encounter boy racers doing wheelies in the car park, moody and aggressive bouncers, and mouthy Barbie-doll Essex girls walking around in their underwear on their way to Time and Envy, or whatever it’s now called. Like the town itself, it’s completely and utterly artificial and is a testament to the void in our society and is worth visiting purely for its anthropological interest (and the Chinese restaurant there.)

In the cold light of day, you might consider braving the race track of Basildon’s roads and taking a tour into the chavvy suburbs. It is here that you may encounter some of the ugliest social housing this side of the Bronx, with many identikit flat-roofed, rabbit hutch council houses and Soviet-style flat blocks. The suburbs of Pitsea (home to a massive refuse tip) and Laindon are particularly distressing. These are the breeding grounds for the c**v population.

The Basildonian c***s love organised entertainment: Boot sales, steam rallies, Disney World, you name it. They love out of town shopping centres and souped up cars and kebabs and hip-hop. They like to follow the crowd and convince themselves that they enjoy the good life without having to think too much. At least they are honest and not pretentious like the people of some towns. In spite of all this, Basildon isn’t really such an awful place. Amidst the urban decay one can find the odd glimpse of human kindness and the glimmer of hope and this is what you should take with you as you head out onto the A127 leaving the Basildon lights winking at you out in the darkness.

Update: Since Raquels closed, their really is no point venturing to this urban pond.

  • Basildon Born and Bred

    The author is obviously used to living in older towns or villages with old charm. But just to put him right, Basildon, dates back to before 1066, as a small village. It is mentioned in the doomsday book and there are plenty of old churches and history in the area. Just because we haven’t any Tudor or Georgian buildings for shops, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t got what it needs to be a good place to shop or live.
    Pound shops are taking over every town and shopping centre in the UK, even in what you call high class areas.
    There is every convenience you need near to the town. Pensioners are grateful, parents are grateful, businesses are grateful, and so am I.
    There will always be areas that let ANY town down, and that goes for people too.
    In my nearly 50 years, I have NEVER had any problems, trouble or felt threatened in my home town.
    I work in a supermarket in the town centre and I can honestly say that most Basildon customers are chatty, helpful and fun. Yes, some have bad days and could be bit difficult, but very rare. And don’t we all have those days, no matter where we are brought up?
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone is perfect, like any town, there are a few unsavoury characters. We are a massive town, so on par, there will be more in Basildon, than other towns.
    The train line sits right next to the town centre. This makes Basildon a good hang out for anyone living along the south-east line from London to Southend. Also, it is situated between two dual carriageways, also leading from London to Southend. It’s easily accessible for anyone!?
    The schooling is good, and show good Ofsted reports, and an excellent college. The hospital is near to the town with a specialised cardiac unit and one of the best baby intensive care units in the UK.
    There is a massive woodland park nearby and two fishing lakes in parks either side of the town. Unfortunately, due to the increased interest in the town, more housing has been built on some of the green areas 🙁 !??
    Please, don’t be nasty or spiteful to a town until you have truly found out all the facts and spoken to the people. You are insulting the residents. This goes to anyone who writes about any town.
    How about ‘I LIVE HERE’ the best towns to live in?

  • Basildonian ben

    Ignore everything Basildon is a nice place and there are some lovely places for e.g. Lee chapel South , Langdon hills and dry street a place were a 3 bedroom is £500,000 + also basildons education isn’t amazing woodlands and Basildon lower and upper academy are crap but de la salle is a great school which I attend and I’ve lived in Basildon for nearly 9 years and I’m more of a yuppy than a chav I speak properly with a posh accent and everyone thinks I’m from Shropshire ( a really posh place )

  • Bop

    Ha ha ha – someone described it as a quiet country town? Mouthbreathers akin to the ones that exist in Basildon no doubt. Always a laugh to see the dross attempt some nuance there (“yeah ‘ar do ‘av shat tats, etc, etc – but ‘arm not a chav…”). Lulz.

  • i woz ere

    Basildon. Differing views in the comments. It appears to be about what a person considers to be bad or good & how that opinion is formed.
    I’ve heard some folk from Essex describe Basildon as the worse place on earth whilst some Londoners see it as a quiet country town.
    I’ve been to the town a number of times, not for a few years now tho. There was a few run down spots, but on the whole its the space & greenery that stood out, tho some of that was being built on. I werent impressed by ‘Baz Vegas’ as some call festival leisure park, but theres a decent park behind the crown court.
    Basildon appears to be an ok place, certainly no warzone. It has similar crime rates to the least criminal areas of London, hope that dont put you off. Put it this way, you’re more likely to get pulled over by old bill when visiting Basildon than have any bother from the locals.

  • Lewis

    You sound like a proper div mate you was obviously bullied at school and can not handle life outside your own house actually try getting out abit and look further into Basildon before you try and judge it everywhere you go you will find a scum bag Evan in billericay that’s just a big a sh*t hole think before you speak you f**king cretin

  • Marita

    And so say all of us….
    .Go and live in Luton

  • stephen cotton

    im 45 and have lived in the usa for 23yrs born in hackney and grew up in the essex villiage of bulphan i have fond memories of basildon i went there with my nan on the bus nearly every saturday when i was a kid,i thought it was great yes it was all concrete but there was so much to do there,the shops the movies bingo bowling swimming wed have fish&chips where the bus garage is or at littlwoods in the town centre i was only a kid but i loved the little pool in the middle with the statue of a lady holding a baby i loved the arcitechure and its modern desighn and its little market,when i was a teenager wed go there on the bus and stay alldaywed buy records see a movie,then go to raquels nite club,or sweenies,nan loved the people she was from the eastend and felt at home as most people her age who lived there were also eastenders

  • xftrev

    The “ode” was clearly written by the most erudite person to have been produced in Basildon in the last three decades.

    I’ve lived in London, but worked in Southend, Shoebury, Tiptree and Witham throughout my 34 years here. I’ve learned a lot about Essex. It’s a mercurial county, but really only Brentwood contains what I would call a truly middle class within the commuter towns. And even then, only partly. One can tell from the fact not every Victorian house has a Gothic porch or Venus de Milo in the front garden. Essex is a largely affluent county (though contains the UK’s most deprived ward in Jaywick) though nearly all the cash is flash. Discretion is not the nature of Essex. Suffolk/Cambs borders are very different, but within a 30 mile reach of London, it’s par for the course. “Chav” does not necessarily equate to “poor”, which is why seemingly wealthy towns like Chelmsford still offer all the usual lowlife cabaret in their centres.

    Harlow is another concrete jungle but it’s without question that Basildon is the granddaddy of them all. I agree with the OP’s analysis totally, but what makes it different from so many typical Chav Towns is that it isn’t relentlessly poor. It has miles better shopping than Northern or Welsh type equivalents – even a sizable Marks and Spencer set within hideous concrete. Neither it is a job free zone. It has very large industrial estates, and I still have many engineering customers there. I believe more commerce is conducted in Essex than any other county – there is definitely a work ethic, driven by the competitive bling. London is close by with a good train service. Far more than the poor buggers in Merthyr or Middlesborough have on their doorstep.

    Nope – the lairy, slovenly, shellsuit life is one of choice in Basildon, and it is truly cultural.

  • My Husband had lived in two rooms above a shop in London.His Company moved to Basildon and he was allocated a three bedroom house nearby.What a gift to a young married couple.Unfortunately his marriage ended but we married and bought another house nearby.We purchased and subsequently sold this property and moved away.I recall the day the Govt.removed these properties from sale and indeed listened to criticism re their sale becoming available.Although grateful for the opportunity to afford my own home,I now see flaws in the original scheme.I suspect some properties have been privately let to tenants and often wonder if some are still rented through the Govt.or as was known as the Basildon Developement Corporation.[now disbanded?]Many will have benefited from buying them no doubt.At the end of the day a place is what people make it.Values have diminished in today’s society generally.It is world wide.A short video made by the ABC in Australia called ‘Turtle World’ explains it in a nutshell.

  • Batcow

    The view of the town centre from that hill in Gloucester Park is absolutely awe-inspiring when you’re tripping on mushrooms. Other than that nothing impressed me at all about the town the whole 25 years I spent growing up and living there.

  • ???????????????

    This is all wrong yes, Basildon isnt pretty or anything but it is lovely!! My granparents have lived here 40 years and adore it here! This website gives the wrong idea compleatly!

    • Basildonian ben

      I agree I’ve lived here my whole life and no trouble

  • Pete

    I’m from Basildon but I now live in Australia and I can see that it has nothing to offer an outsider really but it was my home once and some areas are pleasant whilst others are downright terrifying. I’ll always be fond for the place. Let me tell you that there is nowhere on earth that is perfect. I’ve done a lot of traveling and now I’m settled in Oz. Even the most beautiful places I’ve been like Florence, New York, Canada and now Melbourne all have their rough, scary areas. People make a place.

    • I visited Basildon last year after a 16 year absence.I went to visit a friend on the Chalvedon Estate.Despite stories to the contrary,I found myself in conversation with a delightful white lady and a black man walking the most beautiful dog.They were very friendly and guided me to my destination.What more could a person ask?

  • Nick

    Completely agree with this story and the comments. Having grown up in Brentwood ive only visited Basildon Town Centre a few times(Basildon Festival Leisure Park a lot more) and find that the people there are actually alrite people but most definatlely chavy and Brentwood, Billericay & Chelmsford are not in the same league as this town by a mile. The closest neighbour in terms of the attitude of this town is the Romford/Harold Hill area…

  • John

    My family moved to Basildon from London around 1960, when I was about two. I was struck by your comments on the lack of Basildon’s ‘soul’. As I was growing up, this was something I was became very much aware of. The only sources of entertainment then were the pubs, the Mecca dance hall and the bowling alley. And, yes, it was weird that the plaza-style shopping centre (this was before the enclosed shopping mall was built), an innovation at the time (most towns had a high street) became a ghost town in the evening, rather than being a focal point for its citizens (mind you, it would be difficult to envisage a cafe-culture outside Woolworths or the public lavs by the Bull’s Head ).

    What Basildon did have was modernity and wide open spaces – an airiness that you would not get in London. But somebody (who?) had a vision and the ‘improvements’ – the multi-storeys, one-way systems, more dual carriageways, the addition of a railway station, cinema, etc – began to take over. They did nothing to improve the character of the place but rather somehow served to impoverish it. For me, the die was really cast when at the town centre-end of Long Riding, (previously an open, welcoming approach to the shops) a concrete edifice appeared – as though it had plunged like a huge leaden weight from the sky, blocking-out the sun – which bore the name Toys r Us.

    In my youth (I sound like my dear East Ender dad the older I get) the idea was that working-class people would have decent, affordable, rented accommodation. And when I think back, I am amazed at what we did have for such a low rent – much of the housing was excellent quality. But, on the infrequent occasions I have returned to Basildon in recent years, I am shocked at how run-down my old street, Long Riding, has become. Weren’t the children of Thatcher, so enabled by the flogging-off of the previously rented properties, supposed to become proud, property-owning, civic-minded citizens. Yes indeed, where did it all go wrong?

  • Terry Aspen

    Having grown up in Billericay among the keep up with the Joneses lot, who are forever peeping from behind their curtains to see what you are up to. I have now lived in Basildon for the past 30 years. I live in a house with a lovely half acre garden. It would cost well over a £million if it were in Billericay.I also have lots of lovely neighbours who look out for everyone else. I can choose to live wherever I want, but Basildon is where I want to be. The writer of the article is probably just an insecure person who felt that he could better himself by moving away, and by ridiculing the place where he grew up , isn’t he ridiculing himself? Whoops! Isn’t that what I have just done? Well, all I can say is that Basildon is now all the better now he has gone.

  • RedbyDawn

    Or some good sturdy Lizzie Duke on all 6 of their deformed fingers/round their sturdy necks?

  • GT

    I’ve read some very nasty, arrogant things about Basildon and Pitsea, however, an important point has not been taken into consideration. “Basildonians” or “Pitseans” may not be highly educated, middle class bourgeois, but their hearts are pure gold. Having moved here from a totally different place, my family and I have been treated with only kindness and helpfulness. People go out of their way to help, are kind and caring, from neighbours to strangers in the street, shop keepers, bus drivers….. And what really makes a person “good”? Their accent, their detached house or the kindness of their hearts?

    • bob

      what in the hell are you on about?? hearts of gold? you must be joking. if you need help in basildon at anytime far from receiving assistance, you will more than likely be mugged and beaten. And thats if youre lucky! I know this from many experiences and people, so please do not spout such rubbish. You moved to a sh*thole. I pity you.

      • Colin Clarke

        bob, Reading your lines and what lies between them, I am somewhat saddened by your viewpoint. However, there are many, many people here who could tell and show you a different Basildon to the one you know. Unfortunately, that will not happen because you do not and will never, belong. Your foul mouth excluded you (proof of which lies in you’re comment), plus the chip on your shoulder would be spotted instantly. Goodbye to you and good riddance. From one of the thousands of good people of Bas.

  • 127 leaving the Basildon lights winking