EXCLUSIVE: Basildon man launches social media campaign to 'embarrass' Essex Council over health hazards outside train station

By Charles Thomson in Environment

A LIFELONG Basildon resident is using social media to embarrass the authorities into action over health and safety hazards around Basildon train station.

Lee Cocker, 39, said he feared illegal parking and flooded underpasses were an accident waiting to happen.

He said: “Something needs to be done but it’s just being left and left. Everybody is passing the buck. I decided to do something about it.

“I’ve done it with humour because things get shared more on Facebook if there is a bit of humour about them. I want to get the message out and embarrass them into fixing the problems.”

Underpasses allowing pedestrian access to the car park outside Trafford House and residential areas on the other side of Cherrydown East have been flooded with deep, brown water for more than a month.

Lee, who works for a computer games company in London, said: “Fair enough if it gets flooded for a little while after heavy rain, but why haven’t they got somebody down there to pump it? To leave it like that for more than a month is ridiculous. It’s a health hazard and it looks disgusting.”

He posted on social media about the issue several times but received little response until he edited a photograph of one of the flooded underpasses with a shark jumping out of it. The image was shared more than 100 times on Facebook within a couple of days.

Lee then decided to turn his camera on the ’crazy’ parking on the pavement outside Trafford House.

He had reported the problem – which has caused significant damage to the pavement and also regularly blocks pedestrian access to the train station – to Essex Council, but was told that parking on the pavement was a criminal offence and to report it to police.

However, when the YA raised the issue with Essex Police last year, the force said it was unlikely to respond to reports of illegal parking because it was under-resourced and prioritised urgent calls.

Lee said last Friday: “Just this morning, I watched a car drive up the area of the pavement that’s meant to be for emergency services, drop someone off, then reverse and crash into a bollard and knock it over. They just drove off.

“The pavement is not designed to be driven and parked on. When the cars drive over it, you can hear it crackling and moving. I’ve tripped over the broken slaps and cobbles in the past.”

Lee started taking photographs of the worst offenders and editing them into a mock 1980s TV gameshow called ’How’s My Parking?’

The video was viewed more than 500 times on Facebook within a few days of being uploaded.

He said: “I don’t want to make light of the problem because it’s actually serious. It’s not a joke. But it is a joke that nobody in power is doing anything about it. That’s who I’m poking fun at.

“Nobody wants to take responsibility and deal with the problem. What is it going to take? Is it going to take somebody getting run over by a car before somebody does something? I won’t stop embarrassing them until it’s fixed.”

Lee’s video, ’How’s My Parking - Basildon Edition’ is now available on YouTube and can be viewed below.

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Lucy · 19 days ago · Report

Hopefully we'll get some more rain and all those cars will float off down the underpass too 👍

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