Save Open Spaces – From Pitsea to Hadleigh Castle

I took a quick walk in the local area only to find details of last week’s march to Basildon Town Centre posted on a tree – Save Open Spaces

From then on I took photographs on my phone of open spaces. The Tories and the Liberals are going to try and privatise our services; they are doing this by offering to tender our services and weakening the public sector, all the while expressing the vacuous notion of a big society to cover up for the fact that they are chipping away at the fabric of our lives.

In the distance, Pitsea Mount, oldest recorded building in Pitsea, now used as mobile phone mast

A chair in the middle of a vacant field. This just happens to be my old school, in the background on the tarmac, some boys have obviously climbed the fence to use the space to play football on

In the distance is Castle Point, this is taken by Hadleigh Castle

Overlooking Canvey to the left, Benfleet to the right and Tilbury Power dock in the distance

Between Benfleet and Chalkwall on the C2C line from Shoeburyness to London Fenchurch Street

Legend has it that before the Shoeburyness to London Fenchurch Street line was built (primarily to transport rich Londoners who had, or were thinking of investing in, weekend homes in the Pitsea Marshes) Dick Turpin and the highwaymen would walk the route back to London. Crime did find itself down this path. Which is why irony was not lost on me when a friend of mine was fined too many times on the line, bunking his fare, on his way to Southend College. He was living in a temporary accomodation after being thrown out of home, but once a summons came through the post requesting money he did not have, he took his tent and lived next to Hadleigh Castle. His girlfriend at the time, who lived nearby in Thundersley, used to bring him food, and I did too from time to time.

It’s fair to say he occupied some space in Hadleigh Castle, which looks like this:

Open spaces are important, free from commercialisation and profit-driven enterprise. We’ve never known anything else, but we’ll soon realise it all the more, and if we don’t do our duty as citizens, we can remember these days as the beginning of the end for the welfare state – and we know who are to blame.

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock, and the like