Gallery: Does Jaywick deserve it’s reputation as a deprived town of former holiday homes?
- Credit: Lucy taylor
A golden beach and boarded up houses, smart front gardens and unmade road.
Jaywick is a village of contrasts and a village unlike any other.
Famous for its deprivation, its unmade roads, its bungalows as well as its social problems, Jaywick often hits the headlines. It is a community that is much maligned and even stigmatized – estate agents even call some parts of it “West Clacton” – but is that quite fair?
Dan Casey a councillor with Tendring District Council and Jaywick resident is a passionate supporter of the village and its community.
He said: “It frustrates me that all people see of Jaywick is one small part of it. It is viewed as a deprived area but I don’t feel deprived. I thoroughly enjoy living here.”
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Originally a settlement of holiday homes built in the 1920s and 1930s, Jaywick began life as a holiday resort and with its golden sands and rural location it was ideal for Londoners keen to get away from the city.
But over the years the holiday homes became permanent and the place was forgotten.
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Dan added: “It has always been an area that has suffered from a lack of investment. In 2010 it was branded as the most deprived village in Britain.”
It is undeniable that part of Jaywick bear the signs of deprivation - in particular the Brooklands and Grasslands area of the village. But it isn’t right to say the whole place is deprived – indeed the well kept and tree-lined roads of Tudor Estate looks like any other normal suburb.
Dan says he is fed up with negative press about Jaywick.
He said: “There has been no investment and there are social problems. Every government has ignored us and money has gone to places like Clacton and Frinton instead.
“Unemployment is running at 62 per cent here and people say there are drugs and they say the place is used as a dumping ground for people as they come out of prison. “Maybe it is but as far as I am concerned the problems faced by Jaywick aren’t that much different to everywhere else. All places have their problems.”
As we chat in the Wood Green Hall Library Dan highlights the powerful community spirit that runs through the residents.
The 75-year-old said: “There are big issues in places like Brooklands and those issues aren’t going to go away. But take this library for example. Five years ago it was closed by Essex County Council but we managed to reopen it and run it with a team of volunteers. Now it is a thriving library. The books are all donated by people who use the library. The community spirit here is very strong, people look out for each other, people know each other.
“The community hall here has something on every day of the week. I get fed up with the negative press about Jaywick, they never look at the good parts. I wouldn’t move from here. I don’t say I live in West Clacton.”
As we drive round the village Dan is proud to point out the shops and health centre, the beach and care home.
He said: “The energy companies have spent money on insulation and double glazing and many of the properties have been upgraded in the last 18 months. It was all for free for the people of Jaywick. The primary school is improving and recent years I can walk around Jaywick at night and I don’t see any particular problems.”
He added: “The big problem here is unemployment. Some people here have never worked. We need commercial investment and we need to attract companies to invest here.”
Sue Flanagan volunteers her time as the library secretary.
The 54-year-old said: “I have lived in Jaywick for five years. It was by chance we came to live here, we have a place on the Tudor Estate.
“We have found our neighbours are friendly and look out for us. We have everything on hand that we need, the doctors, the dentist the post office, there are green areas to walk the dogs and a superb beach. You can walk about the streets and people speak to you. There are difficulties and there is a lack of employment but it is a lovely community and not everywhere has that sense of community.”
Sue said she also organises a knit and natter morning every Thursday which raises money for charity.
She added: “We are extremely happy here. I wouldn’t move away, in fact my mother is moving here because there is more going on for older people than where she is at the moment.”
Library user and Grasslands area resident Linda Hempstead said she voted UKIP in the recent high profile Clacton by election.
The 67-year-old said: “I would never have voted conservative but I voted UKIP because I think people want the referendum on Europe. People wanted to get the big parties to wake up to their concerns.”
Linda said she moved to the village ten years ago.
She added: “I lived in Woking before which was very different but I love being by the sea and I love the wide open spaces. Before I moved here I was only out once a week, I am out all the time now.
Linda said although she likes Jaywick she is aware of some of the problems it faces.
She said: “There is a drugs problem but no more than anywhere else. I also have been impressed with the police when I have had dealings with them.
“People get the wrong idea about Jaywick. Moving here was the best thing I ever did.”
What do you think of Jaywick? Share your views below.