Pitsea

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Coordinates: 51°34′08″N 0°30′14″E / 51.569°N 0.504°E / 51.569; 0.504

Pitsea
Pitsea is located in Essex
Pitsea
Pitsea
 Pitsea shown within Essex
Population 25,000 
OS grid reference TQ735885
District Basildon
Shire county Essex
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Basildon
Postcode district SS13
Dialling code 01268
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament South Basildon and East Thurrock
List of places
UK
England
Essex

Pitsea is a small town in the east of the Basildon district of south Essex, England. It comprises five sub-districts: Eversley, Northlands Park Neighbourhood (Previously known as Felmores), Chalvedon, Pitsea Mount and Burnt Mills. Vange is located to the west of Pitsea, and Bowers Giffod to the east and Nevendon to the north. Many of the residents from these surrounding areas use facilities in Pitsea, such as the local market, schools, and the first Tesco Extra store to open in the country.

During the creation of the new town of Basildon in the late 1940s and early 1950s, "Pitsea" and "Vange" were considered as names for the new town. Because Basildon village was central to the district, the town was named "Basildon". Before the new town regeneration, Pitsea and Vange were run down in need of investment. Basildon, on the other hand, was a small village with a church (which still stands today as Holy Cross church) and a few cottages.

History[edit]

There is little known history about Pitsea but its earliest recorded name is Piceseia which was in 1086 and probably recorded as this in the Domesday Book. This however has changed over the years to many different names including: Pichesey(e), Pikeseye, Pithesey, Petchesey(e), Pisseye, Pitchesey, Pytsay, Pittessey, Pytchey and finally to what it is now Pitsea. It is thought however that all the names are derived from the meaning of Pics' Island, which refers to the area now known as Pitsea Mount.

Chalvedon, which is part of Pitsea has also been known under different guises. In its earliest form it was known as Chauendona meaning Calves Hill this was first recorded in 1119. Other names include: Chaluedona, Chaluedene, Calueden and Callwedone before it ended up being Chalvedon.

During the building of the new town Chalvedon became a housing estate in the west of Pitsea and the local secondary school has taken that name, whereas Pitsea got swallowed up by Basildon New Town, although many residents of Pitsea still refer to it as a town in its own right.

Landmarks[edit]

The remains of the church of St. Michael at Pitsea mount.

The most prominent landmark is that of the 13th century church of St. Michael, situated on Pitsea Mount. The church fell into ruin and only the main tower now survives. The dominant position of the building over the local area has seen the church used as a station for a mobile telephone aerial. The church is colloquially known as the Church on the Hill, Pitsea Mount, and even Snob Hill.

Governance[edit]

From 1894 to 1934, the Pitsea parish formed part of the Billericay Rural District. In 1934 it became part of the Billericay Urban District and in 1937 the parish was abolished and absorbed into a larger parish of Billericay.[1] The district, consisting only of the Billericay parish, was renamed Basildon Urban District in 1955.[2] In 1974, the district was replaced by the Basildon parliamentary constituency. Since the 2010 general election Pitsea is represented as part of the South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency, the MP being Stephen Metcalfe of the Conservative Party.

'Regeneration'[edit]

The 'regeneration' of Pitsea town centre is under way. In May 2013, the well-known landmark, The Railway Hotel public house, suffered the same fate as another local pub (The Fortune of War), and was pulled down. The Pitsea Swimming Pool was pulled down in January 2013. The regeneration is said to include an enlargement of the existing Aldi supermarket. This may involve the moving of Pitsea market nearer to the Tesco Extra superstore, perhaps using the site of the Railway Pub, as well as the building of pubs and bars to introduce a nightlife to the centre of Pitsea.

Pitsea Market moved from its original site in Station Lane to the infamous 'Pitsea Domes' and then onto its placement between Pembroke House and The Railway Public House. Although still busy, the number of market stall holders had declined perhaps as a result of the recession, but also perhaps the uncertainty of the 'regeneration'. With regeneration underway in 2013, the future could see the market given a new lease of life.

Most of the current Pitsea Centre is now beginning to look old and in dire need of a makeover. The centre which was completed in the late 1970s is a main focal point for local people; however a recent decline has seen a number of businesses leave, and on days when the market is not in the centre it is left looking somewhat of a ghost town. The market was leased by Charfleets from its owners in the mid-1990s and they introduced the Sunday market to a grand opening with both Essex FM and comedian Bobby Davro entertaining the happy shoppers. However recent events regarding its owners has left the market facing a perilous future and this could again hinge around the redevelopment of the centre. It is thought that among the development more homes would be built within the centre, along with more, larger shops.

The Station Lane redevelopment was completed in 2012, and is a prominent landmark that can be seen for miles on approach to Pitsea. A large L-shaped building, it comprises five ground-floor retail units (only one occupied as at 10th May 2013), 121 flats, and resident parking for 126 cars and 109 bikes.

Sport[edit]

Pitsea is the home to Essex Senior League side Bowers & Pitsea F.C. They play at Crown Avenue, or to give its proper name the Len Salmon Stadium. The club has never played any higher than its current level. The club play every year in the FA Vase and have even competed in the FA Cup albeit only at the very early rounds. It was in the FA Vase that Bowers & Pitsea F.C. achieved their highest ever attendance of 1,800 against a Billericay Town side which featured ex-West Ham United and Charlton Athletic forward Steve Jones. The club first competed in the FA Cup in season 1994/95 when they lost 4-1 at home to Barking in the Preliminary round, they have never progressed beyond the first qualifying round, and have suffered some quite heavy defeats along the way. The club has also had some well known faces play for them, including former Southend United manager Steve Tilson, ex-Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace and forward Paul Williams, and were even managed by ex-Millwall keeper Brian Horne. Bowers & Pitsea also have many youth teams playing in and around the local area.

There are few sporting clubs in Pitsea other than Eversley Park Cricket Club, Basildon & Pitsea Cricket Club, Chalvedon Boys Football Club, Chalvedon Boys Amateur Boxing Club, Pitsea Running Club and numerous Sunday League junior and men's football teams. Most of these teams can be found playing locally on a Sunday at various points across Pitsea, including Eversley Recreation Ground, Trenham Avenue and Pitsea School.

Education[edit]

It is rumoured that in 2007-2008 Chalvedon and Bartable schools will close in their current guise and re-open as an academy for sport and business.[needs update] It is thought that the venture is sponsored by an American businessman. It has been said that all 11-14 year olds will attend the Barstable school site, whilst all 15-19 year olds will attend the Chalvedon school site; this has been met with a lot of opposition from parents, pupils and teachers at both Chalvedon and Barstable schools, which led to a day's strike by teachers at Chalvedon School. This was brought to the attention of local media, and union leaders were featured at the school speaking to local TV news reporters.

Also located in Burnt Mills Road is the Basildon Information and Technology Education Centre. The centre provides both day and night courses in computer IT and design and technology for both school leavers and adults. It was once an infant and junior school for the local area called Nevendon Infant and Junior School, but due to other schools opening in the area, pupil numbers declined, the school eventually closed and eventually the school playing field was built on.

There is a library located in Pitsea Centre, as part of the Leisure Centre complex. While it does not have as good a selection of books as Basildon library, the library has a perfectly adequate selection of books and DVDs. It also offers an internet service free of charge, and also offers people the chance to browse the Essex County Council's library catalogue to order books not on offer at Pitsea Library.

There are a few schools in Vange as well including Ryedene Infant & Junior School, Vange Infant & Junior School, Swan Mead Infant & Junior School and Bardfield Infant & Junior School. Swan Mead is in fact the oldest of the 'new-town' schools.

Transport[edit]

Pitsea is served by Pitsea railway station on the c2c line from London to Southend.

Local bus services are the 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 21, and 22, that operate from Pitsea Broadway to the nearby towns of Basildon, Canvey, Southend, and to the Lakeside Shopping Centre in West Thurrock.

The town is served by the Pitsea bypass of the A13, which connects London to Southend, and has a direct link to the M25. To the east is the A130 to Canvey Island or Chelmsford, and also links to the A12 to London or East Anglia. To the north is the A127 which serves the same purpose as the A13, and to the west is the A132 which is the border which separates Pitsea from Barstable and Vange; this road links into Basildon town centre, the A127 and Wickford.

Employment[edit]

Most people living in Pitsea either commute to Basildon, Southend or London for employment, whereas the main employer in Pitsea is probably Tesco Extra.

Pitsea has a fair amount of office spaces as well, which can be found in Pembroke House in the main Pitsea Centre, Broadway Chambers in the main Pitsea Broadway, and Tudor Chambers located in Station Lane. The offices include solicitors, insurance companies, an accounting software company and an employment agency.

To the north of Pitsea is the Burnt Mills Industrial Estate which has many industrial units, including freight delivery, printing, a car wreck yard and a small amount of manufacturing. Also in this area is the main delivery depot for the courier T.N.T.; again they employ many people from the Pitsea area. The area also has the main sewage treatment works; unfortunately during the summer this can prove to be rather smelly, although Essex and Suffolk Water deny there is anything wrong with it. Also further along from there is the main local depot for the cable TV company Telewest Blueyonder, which came to the area in the early 1990s under the name of United Artists before changing its name to Telewest and then more recently to Virgin Media.

During the recent economic downturn, Pitsea, as part of the Basildon district will suffer with people becoming unemployed. During the previous recession in the 80's, a large part of Pitsea's population was unemployed and claiming benefits.

Local issues[edit]

In the land between the sewage treatment works and the Hovefields Industrial Park, there have been ongoing talks of building a large incinerator, much to the town residents' disagreement. This has led to local disapproval, and petitions have been signed and handed in to the government over this matter. Concerns surround the fumes which would be churned out by the chimneys on the incinerator and what effect they could have on local people's health.

Pitsea Tip also has to deal with refuse that is sent down from London, and again there has been concern regarding the type of waste that is dumped there. However, it is not just waste from London that is dumped there, but also from neighbouring councils. What is of even more concern is that there is also talk of transforming part of the tip into a country park. Whether or not this would be deemed safe is another matter.

There is ongoing talk of a possibility of transforming land beside Pitsea Flyover at Terminus Drive into a site for travellers to live on. This was greeted by a degree of dismay by local residents, as it was revealed that it would be home to travellers from the infamous Dale Farm site. The local residents of Pitsea have since handed a 5,000 signature petition to Downing Street opposing this idea. It is thought that house values in the area would suffer in the same manner as those in nearby Crays Hill. During June 2009 details have emerged that plans are to be re-submitted to the local council for a travellers site to be housed again at Terminus Drive in Pitsea, the submission being backed by the chairman of The Gypsy Board Gratton Puxon. The travellers are facing eviction from Dale Farm and are seeking a site within the Basildon district; again it is likely to be fought with great opposition by local businesses and residents. It has also transpired that the same land next to the flyover in Terminus Drive is being sought after by Basildon United Football Club, who have been told they will have to vacate their current premises because of development plans for their current ground in Gardiners Close. Basildon United have also inquired about building a stadium in Eversley Recreation Park directly next to their local rivals Bowers & Pitsea's ground; this was dismissed after local residents opposed the idea.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vision of Britain - Pitsea parish (historic map)
  2. ^ Vision of Britain - Billericay parish (historic map)

External links[edit]