Back in July, we wrote this post about the threat that was being posed to the Elm Road Open Space in Grays: Thurrock Council know the price of everything and the value of nothing… It was proposed that the site would be used for a new 900 place secondary school. The plans were moved forward without any public consultation which generated a lot of anger in the area that would have been affected by the new school. The government’s Education & Skills Funding Agency have now decided that they want to procure a different site. See here for the full report in the Thurrock Independent: Controversial school site plan is rejected – but council claims a silver lining.

While Thurrock Council have announced they’ve now rescinded instructions to sell the park, they have done so with what can only be described as open contempt for the residents living near Elm Road Open Space. Look at the language used by Cllr. James Halden (Tory) who holds the portfolio for education: “The EFSA has accepted this argument, we have won this fight and they will invest additional monies to acquire a private site, as such I have rescinded instructions to dispose of this site.” ‘Dispose of the site’ shows that the council see this as nothing more than a financial asset and shows the utter contempt they have for local residents who see the park as vital to community wellbeing. Then there’s this: “While I know this is the position many people hoped for it is a position that could only be arrived at by forging past NIMBY pressure from the start and ensuring we offered the land available”. Cllr. Halden’s dismissal of the legitimate concerns of residents about traffic congestion and the loss of vital open space as NIMBYism is a display of pig ignorant arrogance.

The arrogant, dismissive attitude of Cllr. Halden in particular and Thurrock Council in general over this episode is yet another example of the glaring disconnect between the councillors and council officers who presume to run the borough and the residents who have to endure their antics. As we have said before, these people are supposed to be our servants – at least in an ideal world anyway. Instead, they arrogantly devise and implement their grandiose schemes that all too often have been conjured up behind closed doors with no meaningful transparency and then insult any residents who have the temerity to question their decisions. These people are not fit to run our communities. The question is this – how much longer are we going to put up with their bulls**t before something gives?