At last nights (Tuesday 5th June) Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee Thurrock Council laid out a plan to build a new free school on a piece of land that they said was in nothing but occasionally use. It turns out that Thurrock Rugby Club uses pitches on this land every weekend of the rugby season for its youth teams. If this building was to go ahead in the current location the future of Thurrock Rugby Club would be at risk according to what members of the club said last night, this would be a devastating loss to Thurrock.
Deputy Chairman for Corporate O&S, Thurrock Independents Cllr Jack Duffin said: “While we support the building of new schools in the borough it is important that these are well thought out and residents as well as organisations are properly consulted.
“The way Thurrock Council wanted to do the process was ask for a Committee to comment on the proposals, then get Cabinet to approve the proposals next week and after it is confirmed then consult with the Rugby Club and other interested parties. This is completely the wrong way to do it and the Committee was unanimous in its disappointment at the process last night.
“It is incredibly disappointing that the Council thought it was acceptable for the Rugby Club to only find out through word of mouth. They should have contacted the club as soon as this was going forward and negotiate a compromise, we need to be supporting and helping sports clubs in the borough not closing them down.
“Thurrock Council need to go away and consult the Rugby Club first then when they have got an agreement for how the pitches or the majority of pitches will be replaced then come back to the Committee and Cabinet and with a full plan that can be agreed. If this cannot be sorted maybe it is time for the Council to look at alternative sites in the area for the school.”