Concerns are growing over the plans to expand the Thurrock Council offices in New Road, Grays – rightly so in our opinion. This is the latest report from the Thurrock Gazette on the situation where it would appear the council are attempting some damage limitation: ‘We will find businesses new homes’ as concerns grow over Grays Civic Centre plans.

The two images above show the architect’s rendering of how the expanded offices will look and how it looks at the moment. The lower image shows the businesses that will be obliterated by the bland, corporate looking extension that Thurrock Council are proposing. According to the report in the Gazette, the council have offered to find these businesses new homes if they are willing to relocate.

The businesses affected by this obliteration have not been told about this offer. So they don’t know where they will be re-located, the level of footfall and potential customers they can expect in a new location and what level of (most likely increased) rent they’ll have to pay. While the council have been talking to the owner of the land these businesses are located on, they have yet to have any meaningful conversations with the owners.

So, all the owners who’ve slogged their guts out building their businesses have is a vague promise and nothing more. It’s almost like they’re an inconvenience sitting in the way of Thurrock Council’s grandiose plans to ‘re-generate’ (socially cleanse) Grays town centre. The council in not talking directly to the business owners they want to move are displaying a level of arrogance and contempt that shouldn’t be getting tolerated. Thurrock Council – and all the other local authorities playing the re-generation/social cleansing game – are simply not fit for purpose.

There is a fight back against these proposals. If you visit the Angel Cafe (right next to the council offices), please sign the petition they’ve got going against what is to all intents and purposes, a gratuitous act of social cleansing.