Here’s some more on the secret meeting that was held at High House Production Park in Purfleet on Tuesday 18th September between Thurrock Council chiefs, a number of Tory councillors and a number of developers: Secret meeting hailed as the dawn of a new era for borough with developers.

The meeting was run by 3Fox International Limited who were also involved when four of Thurrock Council’s top executives travelled to Cannes on the French Riviera for an MIPIM property summit. In the words of the summit organiser, this is what it was intended to achieve: “MIPIM, the premier real estate event, gathers the most influential players from all sectors of the international property industry for four days of networking, learning and transaction through premium events, conferences and dedicated exhibition zones”. Thurrock Council insist this jaunt came at no cost to council tax payers but according to the report in the Thurrock Independent, many thousands of pounds have since been paid to 3Fox International since.

As we noted in a previous post, Not at all surprised…, the only councillors who attended the meeting at High House were from the minority ruling Tory group and the local media were not permitted to attend the event. Thurrock Council issued a bullshit filled press release with liberal use of words such as ‘investment’, ‘regeneration’, ‘ambition’ and ‘opportunity’. They can issue as many gushing press releases as they like, the point is that opposition councillors were not able to attend the event and the local media weren’t able to be present to ask questions.

So, we have leading council executives going off on jollies to Cannes to hob nob with developers and then organising closed door meetings with them at High House, all facilitated by 3Fox International. What about us residents who live in this borough and whose lives will be impacted by whatever schemes these developers cook up? Is there any chance we could have a say in how our borough changes as we go into the future?

The views and collective wisdom of residents on infrastructure issues ranging from transport through to schools and health care, not to mention the need for green spaces and recreational facilities aren’t part of the equation. We’re deliberately being kept out of the loop. If Thurrock Council were genuinely interested in moving the borough forwards, they would be be doing their level best, given the constraints of the planning system, to engage residents in an ongoing, transparent and accountable consultation process.

Thurrock Council are displaying an almost unbelievable mixture of arrogance, hubris, contempt for democracy and crass stupidity in holding closed meetings with developers while keeping residents out of the loop. We pay this shower with our taxes. In theory, they are supposed to be our servants. In practice, they’re acting like arrogant, aloof, out of touch overlords. We have a system of local and national governance that does not act in our interests and is not fit for purpose. It’s high time we had a peasant’s revolt to turf this lot out, once and for all.