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Basildon ( ) is a town located in the Basildon Districtmarker of the county of Essex, Englandmarker.

It lies east of central Londonmarker and south of the county town of Chelmsfordmarker. Nearby towns include Billericaymarker to the north, Wickfordmarker northeast, and South Benfleetmarker to the east.

It was designated as a new town after World War II in 1948 to accommodate the London population overspill, created from the conglomeration of four small villages, namely Pitseamarker, Laindonmarker, Basildon and Vangemarker. Basildon celebrated its 60th birthday in 2009.

The local government district of Basildonmarker, formed in 1974, encapsulates a larger area than the town itself; the two neighbouring towns of Billericay and Wickford, as well as rural villages and smaller settlements set among the surrounding countryside, fall within its borders.

History

The first historical reference to Basildon is in records from 1086. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book as 'Belesduna'. The name 'Basildon' means 'Boerthal's hill' and is derived from the Anglo-Saxon personal name 'Boerthal' and the Anglo-Saxon word 'dun', meaning hill. In historical documents, this name had various forms over the centuries, including Berdlesdon, Batlesdon and Belesduna.

Railway service started in the nineteenth century to Pitsea (1856) and Laindon (1888) but it was only later that proposals to provide service to the New Town of Basildon, shelved for many years because of concerns that it would simply become a commuter suburb of London, were eventually forced through. A significant number of modern day residents do commute to London.

By the beginning of the 1900s, Basildon had evolved with much of the land having been sold in small plots during a period of land speculation and development taking placed haphazardly with building by plotowners ranging from shelters created from recycled materials to brick-built homes and with amenities such as water, gas, electricity and hard-surfaced roads lacking. (Registration required)

In the 1940s, Billericaymarker and Essex County Council, who were scared about the lack of amenities on the area and how it had evolved, petitioned the Government to create a New Town. Basildon was one of eight 'New Towns' created in the South East of England after the passing of the New Towns Act. On January 4 1949, Lewis Silkin, Minister of Town and Country Planning, officially designated Basildon as a 'New Town'. Basildon Development Corporation was formed in February 1949 to transform the designated area into a modern new town. The New Town incorporated Laindonmarker and Pitseamarker and was laid out around small neighbourhoods with the first house being completed in June 1951. The first tenants moved into homes in Redgrave Road in Vange.

Politics

The constituency of Basildonmarker is considered a barometer of public opinion in general elections. The results of the constituency elections have been the same as the overall result of general elections since 1974. Basildon was said to epitomise the working class conversion to Thatcherism during the 1980s. "Basildon Man" or "Essex Man" was coined to describe an aspirational working class Conservative voter. The current MP is Labour politician Angela Evans Smith. Due to boundary changes, at the next General Election the Basildon and Billericaymarker constituency will elect 1 MP and South Basildon and East Thurrock will elect another MP. In terms of local politics Basildon District elects five Councillors to Essex County Council. Following the 2009 Local Elections all five of these representatives are Conservative. Noak Bridgemarker has a parish council.

Transport

Road

On the north side of the town, the A127 Southend Arterial Road and on the south side is the A13. The A127 is nearest to Basildon Town Centre at approximately 1.5 miles and the A13 approximately 2 miles. They both allow easy access to the M25 and the rest of the motorway network, placing Stansted within 36 miles (58 km), Gatwick within 51 (82 km) and London City Airport just 25 miles (40 km). The A127 and the A13 are both important commuter trunk roads to London as well as linking the town to Southend. Locally, the A13 gives easier access to Pitsea and Vange and the A127 gives more convenient access to the town centre and Laindon.

Schematic of 'Mayne' roads
Within the town, a number of main road names have included 'mayne' in their name. They link the town to and from the A13 and the A127.East Mayne(A132) runs between the junction of the A127 and the roundabout east of Barstable School. Two of the 'mayne' roads join this roundabout Broadmayne (A1321) goes to the town centre, in fact the northerly of the roundabouts at Roundacre and South Mayne(A132) goes to Pitsea. Nethermayne(A176) starts at the southerly of the roundabouts at Roundacre and joins the A13 at the Five Bells Roundabout. Also Upper Mayne(A176) goes from the northerly of the roundabouts at Roundacre and joins the A127 and West Mayne (B148) runs from a roundabout in Laindon and joins the A127 at Dunton.

Rail

Pitsea railway stationmarker, Basildon railway stationmarker and Laindon railway stationmarker are all on the London, Tilbury & Southend line, and serve Southend in around 20 minutes and London Fenchurch Streetmarker in 35 minutes operated by c2c.

Wickford railway stationmarker and Billericay railway stationmarker within Basildon district are on the Shenfield to Southend Line serving Liverpool Street stationmarker operated by National Express East Anglia.

Bus

Bus service, mainly operated by First Essex Buses Ltd connect the town to nearby towns including Billericaymarker and Wickfordmarker.

Future Transport Plans

A127, Basildon Enterprise Corridor

As part of Basildon's redevelopment Essex County Council have proposed that the A127 undergo significant development at a cost of £15 million and is expected to be finished by March 2011. It is funded via the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF). The majority of the work will take place at Noak Bridge, Fairglen and East Mayne.

Shopping

Brooke House, a block of flats, situated in Basildon Town Centre.
The town centre boasts many high street stores. As well as shops and coffee houses in East Walk there is the Eastgate Shopping Centremarker which is also situated in the Town Centre, home to over 100 retailers. Further outlets can be found at Westgate Shopping park and there is also a pavement market selling fresh fruit and vegetables, clothing and household goods.

Education

There are several secondary schools in the Basildon District:



The Laindon High Road School served the area of Laindon. In 1998 it was renamed Laindon High School and in 2000 merged with James Hornsby High Schoolmarker.

In 1968 Timberlog Secondary School, (now demolished for housing) was combined with the then Barstable Grammar School to become a comprehensive school.

Twinning

Basildon's twin towns include:



Regeneration plans

Throughout Basildon there are major developments planned estimated to total nearly £2 billion. These include:



Society, leisure and popular culture

Festival Leisure Park
Festival Leisure Park is a trading leisure park located in the north of Basildon. It is owned by Norwich Union. The Festival Leisure Park includes several restaurants, a bowling and arcade centre, two hotels, a twelve screen cinema and two health clubs as well as the third largest nightclub complex in the UK. Locally, the Festival Leisure Park is colloqially known as "Bas Vegas". This name which was adopted by the organisation in charge of the new casino development, who used the slogan on signs welcoming people into Basildon by road.

In 1989 the culture and history of the town was documented by the newly re-opened Towngate Theatre, when it commissioned a community play from Arnold Wesker for the town's 40th anniversary. The potted history that Wesker called "Boerthal's Hill" was acted out by a 100 or so members of the community and portrayed a welcoming haven for visitors. Although it was generally positive in its view of the town, controversy arose where the play touched on the apparent racism of politicians throughout the 1970s.

Healthcare

Notable people



Nearest places

References

External links




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