A DILAPIDATED shopping centre, which has been labelled a bombsite by shoppers, is to have a long-awaited revamp.
BDO, the administrator in charge of the Laindon Centre, off High Road, has started to install lights with sensors, which will be on from dusk to dawn, put up secure steel fencing and put in place measures to combat surface flooding.
Campaigners said the centre turns into a “black hole” when the sun goes down, due to poor lighting. They have welcomed the revamp.
Shopper Sally Edwards, of Worthing Road, Laindon, said: “When I went there last week it looked like a complete bomb site.
“There was dog poo everywhere and a lot of flooding. It’s something I feel quite passionate about.
“At least they’re looking to make improvements to the centre – but they need to.
“Ideally, they need to knock it down and rebuild it.”
Builders will be at the complex to replace and reinforce hoardings that blew down during the high winds at the start of the year, while a “significant” new lighting scheme will brighten up the parade, outside the shops and the entrance to the centre.
Lights will also be put on the hoardings after shoppers complained it was too dark around the centre, especially outside the GP’s surgery.
Drains will also be drilled in the area outside the bank and the Co-op store, to collect surface water, while the central drains will be jet washed so they work properly.
The centre has long been used as a political football, with the borough’s opposition Labour party demanding action on the ramshackle centre, while the ruling Tory party claims it cannot do anything as it does not own it.
BDO took over the centre last May after owner Laindon Regeneration, who bought it for £11.5million in 2007, ran into financial problems.
The administrators are in talks with potential firms who are interested in buying the complex.
John Scarola, Labour councillor for Laindon Park, said: “We’ve been treated like second class citizens here in Laindon, but at least some work is happening now.
“It looks like the administrator is doing the best it can.
“I’m delighted with the lighting because it is just pitch black after about 3pm during the winter.”