Could this be Britain's worst shopping centre? True state of deterioration beneath ageing Laindo
Rust: Light fitting (left) and seen hanging (right) has almost rusted away
THESE exclusive pictures show the shocking condition the rundown Laindon Shopping Centre, in Basildon, Essex, has been allowed to deterioate into as it awaits redevelopment.
Dumped rubbish, leaking roofs, and rotten light fittings were found by a reporter beneath the 1960s building, which has been described as a "concrete carbunkle," and which has been on the cards for demolition and rebuild for more than a decade.
Leak: rainwater forms puddles on the ground underneath (above) and where it is leaking through the roof above (top)
The centre, off the High Road, has continued to deterioate, with shops moving out, and partial demolition of the buildings.
Above ground, it is blighted by empty units and unsightly hoardings, blocking of demolished areas.
Dump: Overflowing waste (top) and piled junk (above) under the Laindon Shopping Centre
Basildon Council and the administrators of the site tried to breath life into the centre by allowing local youths to paint impressive graffiti along the 1960s walls, a project that had mixed reactions from locals.
Now, for the first time, Essex News & Investigation Service can reveal the dire state of repair the building is in underneath.
Fighting fit: Advert for local wrestling bought (above) and (top) the shopping centre toilets
Due to an apparent security lapse by the centre managers, a reporter was able to access the basement area after the gates, which must be locked at all times according to signs posted outside, were left open and unbolted.
Home to roost: Pigeons bed down above the centre's Greggs The Bakers branch (top & above)
The council and the administrators of former owner Laindon Regeneration, which went insolvent due to spiralling bank loans, are keen to see the development raised and a new complex of modern shops and hopes built in its place.
But a series of blueprints for the redevelopment have been stalled since at least 2002.
Artwork: Graffiti on the walls of the shopping centre has divided opinion among locals