Thurrock Independents Deputy Leader, Cllr Jack Duffin said: “It is disappointing that the Conservative Administration take so much pride in increasing Council Tax by 10% over the last two years. I wouldn’t call that self-sufficiency, I would call that building on the backs of the poorest.
“The Tories should be apologising to local people for having failed to make a single long term investment since they came to power in 2016. Rather than build a portfolio that could create £40m a year profit for the Council they have priorities tax rises and then brag about them in the Council chamber. Thurrock Independents would make sure we build a sustainable long term investment strategy that the other parties have failed to do. Many Council’s around the UK are years ahead of us and it is time Thurrock moved with the times.
The Thurrock Independents are demanding that Thurrock Conservatvies immediately return the £35,500 they have received in donations from building/property related firms since 2015. A failure to do so will shatter public confidence in the delivery of any Conservative Local Plan, which seeks to force 32,000 homes upon Thurrock.
Thurrock Independents Spokesman said: “This shocking conflict of interest, right at the very heart of the administration, leaves the Tories appearing entirely compromised. A Local Plan must be have the confidence of local residents. However, how can any resident have the confidence that the Conservative administration at Thurrock Council will prioritise the needs of residents above the interests of builders and developments? If the Conservatvies want to be a trusted custodian of the Local Plan then they must, return this money, and agree not to take any future donations from property related companies.
Thurrock Independents are deeply concerned that the decision to close Orsett Hospital was not based upon any clinical need. Furthermore, the report breaches promises, assurances and guarantees made by the Thurrock Tory Cabinet Member for Health that all services from Orsett would be retained within Thurrock.
The report states that Orsett Hospital will remain open until the services are moved to new locations, but those new locations are not guaranteed to be in Thurrock:
15.1 Approve the relocation of services currently provided at Orsett Hospital to a range of locations within Thurrock, Basildon and Brentwood, enabling the closure of Orsett Hospital.
15.5 Note that, in accordance with the agreement between Thurrock CCG, Thurrock Council and the three mid and south Essex hospitals, the Orsett Hospital site will not be closed until the new services are in place at the agreed new locations.
Thurrock Independents are shocked and disappointed with the letter we received from Thurrock Labour today. We challenged Labour to step up to the plate and prove that they were willing to take responsibility for the Orsett Hospital promises they had made during the local elections to residents.
Thurrock Independents Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spllman said: “I, like any sensible observer of the closure process, understand that it is essential that we have a Council which opposes the closure, rather than a Council which supports the closure. It is a matter of great sadness to me, to see Thurrock Labour’s great Orsett Hospital betrayal fully exposed.
On the 28th February 2018 Cllr Spilllman asked the following question at Full Council: ‘Can the portfolio holder assure me that areas outside the borough, known to be rife with prostitution, drug use and associated crime, will no longer be considered suitable locations for the temporary housing of homeless Thurrock residents?’ The then Tory Mayor called a halt to the questions session before the question could be fully answered.
Thurrock Independents have since come across further such cases. We have also seen the Homeless Department housing extremely vulnerable families, against the advice of specialist professionals, in known Antisocial behaviour and crime hot spots within the borough.
Thurrock Independent Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman said: “I am absolutely appalled that Thurrock Council can possibly regard placing an extremely vulnerable family, or children who may have been previously subject to intervention from Children’s Services, in such areas. In doing so we are exposing some of the most vulnerable individuals in this borough to harassment, violence, gang crime, drug abuse and possible sexual exploitation. I call upon Thurrock Council to complete an urgent review into this awful practice.
Today Thurrock Independents Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman, sent an open letter to Thurrock Labour Leader, Cllr Oliver Gerrish and the Labour Group. Thurrock Independents demand action from Thurrock Labour on their pledge to the residents of Thurrock to save Orsett Hospital.
Thurrock Independents Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman said: “It is time Thurrock Labour demonstrated they have the will to take the action that they promised to Thurrock residents to save Orsett Hospital. They must prove that they weren’t just playing politics with people’s health.”
Thurrock Council are presenting to the Planning, Transport, Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 4th July the option for adding homes to seven locations across the borough as part of the Local Plan. These seven locations are:
South Ockendon – between 10,000 and 12,000
Aveley – over 2,100
Chadwell St Marys – between 3,000 and 5,000 homes
East Tilbury – between 3,000 – 5,000 homes
Corringham – over 1,500 homes
Lakeside – over 2,000 homes
North Grays – 1,500 homes
Thurrock Independents Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman said “Finally our Conservative Thurrock Council have put the grim implications of their Local Plan into the public domain. These plans, which would add 32,000 homes to the borough, would change the face of Thurrock’s communities forever and entirely change the character of towns across the borough.
Thurrock Independents have expressed their outrage at the Thurrock Council’s decision to trawl through the emails of Councillors in an apparent attempt to prevent service failures from being exposed.
A Thurrock Independents Spokesman said: “The public should be very concerned that Thurrock Council have searched through the emails of Councillors, in a seeming attempt to prevent failed services being exposed.
Thurrock Independents have no option but to vote against all future decisions on the Local Plan until Cllr Coxshall attempts to deliver on the premise of his 2017 statement that Thurrock can build less homes than the 32,000 that the Conservative Administration is trying to force though. During the 25th October 2017 Full Council, Thurrock Independents Deputy Leader, Cllr Jack Duffin asked the Conservative Cabinet Member for Regeneration if the Council had done any work regarding reducing the number of homes in the Local Plan, the Tories confirmed at this meeting that they are planning to put more homes in Thurrock than the Government has requested.
Thurrock Independents Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman said; “I personally guarantee that the Thurrock Independents are unwavering in our commitment to save Orsett Hospital from closure, until a new hospital for Thurrock is built. This has been our party’s policy since we first formed in January 2018.
“Since the elections in May, Labour have had the chance to try to run Thurrock Council and have chosen not to do so. Running Thurrock Council would have given them the opportunity to fight the closure of Orsett Hospital.