Thurrock Independents Slam Shambolic Tory Local Plan Failure

In November, all groups were advised by Council Officers and their Legal team that an agreed consultation to the Local Plan was essential to Thurrock Council’s opposition to the current Lower Thames Crossing proposals. In failing to bring the Local Plan to the emergency meeting on the 11th December 2018, Thurrock’s Conservatives have torpedoed Thurrock Council’s defence against the Lower Thames Crossing. They have made a laughing stock of Thurrock Council.

Thurrock Independent Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman said: “Due to our deep concerns regarding donations the Tories are accepting from the building and property industry, and the disturbing conflict of interest this presents, we would naturally oppose their Local Plan. However, because the Local Plan is so important to the borough’s defence against the Lower Thames Crossing, we accepted that the bigger picture demanded that the Plan went through. During discussions with the Tories and senior council officers our six published amendments were all but accepted by all sides. Enough ground was given for us to explicitly assure to the Conservatives that we would abstain. This in itself would have allowed the Local Plan to pass.

“The failure of the Conservative-run Council to present a Local Plan to the emergency meeting on the 11th December 2018 as planned, is an unparalleled act of self-harm in the modern history of politics in Thurrock. In doing so, the Conservatives have shown themselves unfit to run a Parrish Council, let alone a Unitary Authority. They have critically sabotaged the borough’s defence against the current proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing. They are a missing-in-action administration. Their ineptness is only matched by their self-interest.”

Candidate Announcement: Steve Minett in Chadwell St Mary

Our Candidate For Chadwell St Mary, Steve Minett said: “It’s an honour to be chosen to represent Thurrock Independents in Chadwell St Mary, more so because it’s for a party that puts people before politics, a real tangible opportunity to make a difference for both the people and for an area I love.

“I look forward to getting to know many more of you, some will already know me from my work locally, others of you will know me on a more personal level. I was born and grew up in Chadwell St Mary, I lived in Chelmer House for many years, my parents and wider family are residents still.

“Chadwell is an area I hold close to my heart, one that is sadly often overlooked and neglected, running for Thurrock independents gives me a strong hand to pressure those local matters close to the your hearts, to push for a cleaner, safer community and one that is protected from overdevelopment.”

Candidate Announcement: Russell Cherry in Little Thurrock Rectory

Our Candidate For Little Thurrock Rectory, Cllr Russell Cherry said: “I have recently moved to Little Thurrock Rectory from Chadwell where I am a Councillor for Thurrock Independents. I have been active on my arrival in reinstating Neighbourhood Watch south of Chadwell Road and want to expand it further into the ward with another successful launch. I wish to continue making improvements as your local Councillor giving you choice with effective and mature opposition.”

Thurrock Independents Vow To Fight Tory Plans To Concrete Over Thurrock

The Conservative Administration’s Local Plan would turn Thurrock into a private developer’s playground. Residents should not be surprised considering the Conservatives have taken tens of thousands of pounds in donations from construction and property related firms. The Thurrock Independents will not support any Local Plan which does not put the needs of Thurrock residents before commercial interests and the housing needs of London boroughs.

Thurrock Independent Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman, said: “The plans, as they stand, paint a frightening picture for Thurrock’s future. We will not back any Local Plan which does not:

– Prioritise housing needs of Thurrock residents over commercial interests and the housing needs of London boroughs.
– Commit to reducing air pollution in the borough.
– Protect the character of existing settlements.
– Commit to providing essential infrastructure and services first before new developments are built.
– Avoid urban sprawl by building a new modern settlement to the highest possible environmental standards.
– Protect our greenbelt and improve existing greenbelt.

“We have set out to the Conservatives our red lines (see below) and demand that they are included within the Local Plan report scheduled to be brought before the extra-ordinary Council meeting on the 11th December 2018. Should the Conservative’s refuse to include these within the Local Plan report we will move an amendment within the meeting calling for their inclusion. Should this amendment be blocked then we will vote against the Local Plan.

“There will be no ifs, buts or maybes. We will vote against any Local Plan which does not make solid commitments to protect and improve the quality of life of Thurrock’s residents.

“This ongoing episode has brought into the light the problems of party funding within Thurrock. By accepting such large donations from property related firms, the Conservatives, as custodians of the Local Plan, have a clear and irreconcilable conflict of interest. We call for a public commitment from the Tories not to accept any further donations from property related firms and pay back any donations they have received since running Thurrock Council in May 2016.”

Our amendments to the Local Plan paper scheduled to be presented on the 11th December 2018

1. Meeting the housing needs of Thurrock

Thurrock Council is committed to providing low cost housing, allocated through the Council’s housing allocations scheme, for Thurrock’s residents.
Thurrock Council accepts the local need to provide between 6,000-10,000 council homes. We will work with social landlords and Thurrock Regeneration Limited to build further low-cost housing. We will ensure that any eligible private developments include ‘affordable housing’.

Within the lifetime of this plan we are committed to exploring and implementing all available means to meet our aspiration of providing 15,000 homes (council, housing authority, affordable homes) which will be allocated through the council’s allocations policy. These homes will provide low income to middle income earners across the borough the housing security they deserve.

2. Managing the environmental consequences of a rising population

Thurrock Council recognises that any local plan, which could see an increase in the borough’s population by as much as 100,000 people, must prioritise preventing any associated rise in air pollution.

Thurrock’s Local Plan will set out clear and precise plans to protect Thurrock’s residents from all pollutants including:
– sulphur oxides
– carbon monoxide
– nitrogen oxides
– Volatile organic compounds
– Particulates
– Persistent free radicals
– Toxic metals
– Chlorofluorocarbons
– Ammonia
– Odours

3. Protecting the character of existing settlements

Thurrock’s Local Plan will protect and enhance the character of existing settlements. The Local Plan will be designed to prevent the over-development of any existing settlements, against the will of residents, which would fundamentally change their existing character.

4. Infrastructure first!

Thurrock’s Local Plan will be designed around the principle of infrastructure first. It will deliver the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time. This includes a commitment to explore all feasible options to build a new Hospital within Thurrock with an A&E unit.

5. A new modern, environmentally friendly garden city

Thurrock’s Local Plan is committed to fully exploring the design and build of a new garden city. A large-scale development built to the highest environmental standards which will include the infrastructure to meet the needs of its residents.

6. Maintaining, expanding and improving greenfield sites

Thurrock’s local plan will prioritise building on all viable brownfield sites before any further green spaces, outside of the new garden village settlement. The local plan will investigate all green fields sites which have the potential to be expanded and improved to provide much greater social and environmental value to the borough.

Candidate Announcement: Oliver Smith in East Tilbury

Our Candidate For East Tilbury, Oliver Smith: “I’m delighted to be selected as the candidate for East Tilbury. With the Lower Thames Crossing being forced upon the area and 5,000 new homes proposed by the Conservatives, East Tilbury needs a strong voice to protect resident’s standard of living more than ever.

“I will work to restore resident’s well-being as the Council’s chief priority and tackle the selfish culture currently plaguing the local administration.”

Candidate Announcement: Jennifer Smith in Stifford Clays

Our Candidate For Stifford Clays, Jennifer Smith said: “I am pleased to be the candidate for Stifford Clays in Mays election. I am a hard working, married mum of three who has lived in the borough virtually all my life. I feel we need to tackle issues that are relevant to our community, including anti-social behaviour, community resources and NHS provision to make Thurrock the place it once was.”

Candidate Announcement: Gary Byrne in The Homesteads

Our Candidate For The Homesteads, Gary Byrne said: “I am standing in the Homesteads ward to offer residents an independent voice rather than divisive party politics. In the weeks leading up to May 2019 they will knock on your door and tell you exactly what you want to hear, they will offer the moon on a stick to get your vote. I promise just one thing to do everything possible for each and every resident to make our town a better place to live. They promise, my track record shows I deliver.”