It appears that the (minority) ruling Tory group on Thurrock Council will not be making a final decision on whether to carry on with controversial plans to ‘re-develop’ the council offices in New Road, Grays, until the next cabinet meeting on September 4th: Decision on £10 million new Thurrock Council offices set for September. They have not confirmed whether money will continue to be spent on the project until the final decision is made in September. Over £500,000 has already been spent despite there being no business case for the ‘re-development’, let alone planning permission.

On Wednesday 19th June, a motion calling for the project to be scrapped was tabled, debated by councillors, voted on and passed: Could this be a result? Despite the vote in favour of the motion calling for the ‘re-development’ to be scrapped, it transpires that the ruling Tory group weren’t officially bound by it and have the option of ignoring it. Let’s remind ourselves that if this project goes ahead, several local businesses stand to lose their premises and a memorial garden dedicated to war veterans next to the offices will be obliterated.

This so called ‘re-development’ is nothing more than a destructive vanity project being pushed through by an arrogant, out of touch and unaccountable minority ruling Tory group. No member of the public has spoken up in favour of this scheme – it’s doubtful whether there are any members of the public who think this scheme is a good idea. The vibe on the ground is that many people in Thurrock think this project is a complete waste of money.

If this scheme does get the go ahead, it will show the utter contempt the ruling group on the council has for the people of Thurrock. That’s something that may well bite the Tories on their arse come the local elections in May 2020. However, a lot depends on how much support there is for this project among the senior officers at Thurrock Council and how much influence they can wield over councillors. We’re back to this question again: Asking where does power really lie?

There’s just over two months to mobilise opposition to this vanity project. We’ll do what we can to support any campaign that wants to halt this scheme. Let’s see what people power can do to get a result!