Daughter of man behind Longwood riding school hits out at plans to demolish centre (From Basildon Recorder)
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Daughter of man behind Longwood riding school hits out at plans to demolish centre
THE DAUGHTER of the man who built the Longwood Equestrian Centre has hit out at controversial plans to demolish the popular riding school.
Basildon Council is currently considering two planning applications connected to the Dry Street wildlife haven.
The first proposal is for 750 homes, a primary school and shops across Dry Street and the current South Essex College site in Nethermayne, which would see the riding school knocked down.
The second application is to build a replacement £35million new college campus in the town centre.
Longwood was the brainchild of Phillip Street and was opened to great fanfare in 1973 after five years being built.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 1972 but continued to complete his dream project, before tragically passing away aged 64 the day before its grand opening.
His daughter Mary Smith, now 72, from Hockley, said: “My dad was always a keen rider so it was a dream of his to set up his own school and do something for the children of Basildon. He was really involved with the local area.
“Even though he found out he had cancer and was really ill he was still down at the school two or three weeks before he died making sure all the work was finished. He was a fighter.
“He would have been disgusted if he knew what was happening now and just so upset. My dad did all that hard work and now it could be bulldozed. It seems such a waste to me. If the riding school gets moved they will have to find 50 acres to put it on. If we have that then why can’t the developers just put the houses there instead?”
The family sold Longwood shortly after Mr Street’s death and the centre is now leased from the Homes and Communities Agency.
Jst a week ago about 240 people crammed into two meetings hosted by Basildon Green Action Group - who fiercely oppose the Dry Street plans.