GAG campaigners took to the Eastgate Mall in Basidlon Town Centre on 8/9/10 March to spread the messages about defending the Dry Street Pastures and saving the Longwood Equestrian Centre from demolition.
Campaigners collected over 1,000 signatures on a new petition as well as the same number of individual comments hung on the group’s “Message Tree”. A GAG spokesperson said “The anger and dismay felt by local Basildon residents at the loss of more green space in the Borough was palpable. Of the hundreds that were spoken to there was hardly anyone who was in favour of developing the land.”
GAG has also received a letter from a 29-year old (female) who wishes to remain anonymous. It sums up for many people the frustration they feel at the threat of the loss of the Dry Street Pastures. The letter has been slightly edited for content and length.Dear Sir/Madam The Dry Street Area is a luxury of nature that enjoys its peace even when people pass through it and enjoy it. Birds watch you from the hedges, safe knowing that you can’t see them, but it is lovely hearing them chattering away in their environment. As I look across the fields by the Memorial Church to the trees high up on a hill, I feel at peace. You go away calm. The peace there straightaway calms me. Swallows or swifts appeared in September, I recognised their body shape. I have never seen those birds in the wild before, because that is ‘their’ home. The green land at Gloucester Park is not countryside, it is artificial and stuck in the middle of a road. Dry Street woods and fields are natural which I adore. Comparing this again to GloucesterPark, the air there is not too fresh, probably because there isn’t much greenery, just a bit of grass and an outline of trees. People who appreciate life and nature and the countryside treasure Dry Street. That is why, if it is damaged by putting a great amount of houses on, and losing the Equestrian Centre, we as the good of Basildon feel that we have lost the parts of our lives where we can get away from the bad parts of the town’s life. If those houses are put on that land, that peace is lost straight away. I am begging to please keep Dry Street as it is, it is so important to me and many thousands. It is sad that Basildon town does not offer many friendly faces. It is typically stressful, fast-paced, car-orientated and rush, rush, rush. I work in a fast-paced restaurant where it is frowned on by other customers to chat to who you are currently serving at the time. Their faces say it all. When you go into the woods it is magical. I have a favourite contemplation spot and I stood thre recently one Sunday morning and it was perfect. I kept bumping into dog-walkers, walkers, horse riders and a horse and cart, and this is the only untouched, uncontrolled beautiful place of freedom we have. So if all the building takes a lot of the land, nature loses its freedom. More animals will be killed by the new traffic as they don’t know what has arrived and can’t dodge the traffic. It won’t be a place to escape. It will become a new Gloucester Park, an unsafe, really crappy green box to put everyone in. A claustrophobic limited green spot to enclose everyone in. I live near to those new houses, the criminals will find it an easy temptation to wander along to, and take advantage. Basildon is a laughing stock to many other towns, but why not actually show that we have the best green area in Dry Street, and be proud of it, not building on it ? And treasure it and save it. Once that place is dissected, it is gone and nothing can ever replace the totally best ever natural area that it is. Why on earth destroy Basildon’s one bit of decent countryside we have ? I am 29 and for the last two years loved going in there most days. How I regret not treasuring all those years previous to these, going there a lot in the past as well. Anon