Here’s some advice for Cllr. Gavin Callaghan (Lab) – the leader of Basildon Council

For those of you following the saga of the proposed ‘re-development’ of Basildon town centre, it will not have escaped your attention that the leader of Basildon Council is messianic in his promotion of the scheme and does not take well to any criticism. Even when the criticism comes from Vin Harrop who has played a major role in bringing the arts to the people of Basildon, helping them to express their creativity. Vin was the director of the original Arts Centre in Basildon, founder of the Basildon Arts Trail, researcher for Basildon Heritage and founder of Eastgate Art Gallery.

Vin Harrop penned this letter expressing his reservations about Callaghan’s vision for the town centre:

CALLAGHAN’S Basildon – it is to be a South Essex utopia where people can look down from their 21st floor balcony windows and view the world below.

Callaghan’s style of architecture – and designs of those wishing to please him – was impressive and in Basildon’s case it was meant to steer the town away from what was considered the decadent architecture of the 1950s and 1960s.

What the regeneration people regarded as town planning was something done by fiat and not by consent; the rebuilt towns were like Callaghan’s conception of the new modernism – “Basildonia” – to be constructed in a ‘blocking-in’ pattern.

St Martins of Tours church will be dwarfed by these massive, ugly buildings – known as high-rise flats, to dominate the whole of the build landscape, with a little bit of greenery thrown in for good measure.

A huge labour of time, money and materials is about to be poured into this Basildon utopia.

This bizarre experience which may last 30 years or more, is doomed to failure in my view because the people in this small part of South Essex are not ready for such drastic change. Many of them – in particular the old East-End contingent, would have preferred Basildon town centre to have been rebuild rather than by Blitzkrieg.

Only time will tell whether I am right.



This letter was originally published in the Echo.

This is Callaghan’s response to this and other letters Vin Harrop has written expressing his concerns about the direction Basildon is being taken in…

Callaghan’s disgusting response shows him up for the jumped up, over ambitious, ego-centric, chancer that he really is. Could it be that with this Tweet, Callaghan has pushed the boundaries too far and he could end up as the unwitting architect of his own downfall? We and many other people are keeping our fingers crossed:)

We’ll leave you with this comment from Say NO to High Rise Hell in Basildon Town Centre.


Basildon Council’s ruling Labour Alliance Il Duce Gavito Basildini, a.k.a spiteful cry baby Gavin Callaghan, has spat his dummy out again on Twitter, to attack a much loved community leader for the second time in a fortnight.

Vin Harrop, 82, is a highly respected Community leader who has also been a champion and campaigner for art and culture in Basildon for 50 years was found guilty by Il Duce of having an informed but opposing opinion published in the local paper!

Il Duce has called for his henchmen to hunt down Mr Harrop and bring him in front of the Basildon centre for execution.

Our thoughts on this are as follows..

As a very clever, almost gangster like PR professional, Callaghan should be aware that its actually the whole idea of community newspapers to report all sides of community issues.

If anything, we have found the newspaper in question to be enormously biased in the Alliances favour with regards to reporting on opposition views to their dreadful Masterplan.

In fact we have been so suspicious of their bias towards printing Alliance propaganda, that we thought perhaps young journalists were being wooed by promises of success at the big newspapers, by the Alliances bully boy enforcer – ex journo and Daily Mirror Managing Editor, Cllr Aidan McGurran.

But we are sure these suspicions were unfounded preferring to think that local young journalists would have more integrity than that.

So we can’t really understand why he should complain to the Echo, as he does in the opening of his nasty inappropriate twitter attack.

This is the second attack on the same Community Leader and we find this utterly contemptible and appalling behaviour from a Borough Councillor, let alone Il Duce! The Community and particularly the arts and culture community find this behaviour totally unacceptable and we will be making a formal complaint to the Councils Monitoring Officer.

For those who would like to see just how overblown and outrageous a response Il Duce’s Twitter tantrum was here is the link to Mr Harrop’s perfectly reasonable comment.

It should be noted that Mr Harrop was running popular and successful youth programs for years before angry bambino Duce was even off Mother Duce’s Pitsea tips!


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