At the start of February, the future of the Laindon Community Centre appeared to be uncertain and pretty bleak: An uncertain future for a valued community asset – February 1, 2021 It was at that point a campaign group was emerging on Facebook to galvanise the community into action. That certainly did the trick because the leader of Basildon Council, Cllr. Gavin Callaghan, said this: ‘If it costs a lot of money, we will spend a lot of money to get that centre back up and running in a proper, fit for purpose way’. As we said: Pressure pays…keep it up! – February 23, 2021 and: You can tell when the local elections are coming up… – March 2, 2021.
Well, not only has Callaghan promised to ‘spend a lot of money’, on Wednesday March 10 at the Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, councillors approved a consultation plan to determine the future of the Laindon Community Centre: Councillors pledge consultation over community centre. Now this could end up as just another CONsultation where the community are presented with a number of already prepared options and invited to pick which one they prefer. To make it a proper and equal discussion between the residents of Laindon and Basildon Council, the pressure needs to be kept up.
From what we’ve seen from the people of Laindon so far, we’re in no doubt whatsoever that not only will the pressure be kept up, it may well be ramped up. Already the council have had to change tack on this issue. With the current leadership of Basildon Council starting to get very nervous about the forthcoming elections, there’s every chance the more can be squeezed out of them. A caveat regarding whatever is promised about the future of the Laindon Community Centre – once the elections are done and dusted, regardless of whoever ends up running Basildon Council, pressure will be needed to make sure those promises are kept.