The (minority) Tory ruling group on Thurrock Council are now talking to leaseholders and some of the owners whose businesses are threatened by the proposed extension to and redevelopment of the council offices in New Road, Grays. The council have made promises to all of the business affected that they will be relocated. The big unanswered question is where and what level of rent will they be paying? It’s pretty much a no-brainer that if these businesses can be relocated, they will be facing a sizeable hike in rents.
As we mentioned in our previous post – Are Thurrock Council hoping we’ll forget about this? WRONG!! – the cabinet on the council have postponed any discussion about the motion calling for the scheme to be scrapped that was submitted at the council meeting in June until September – Could this be a result? However, here’s the kicker – despite this postponement, the council has already purchased the freehold of four properties in New Road and round the corner in the High Street in preparation for the extension and redevelopment: Tories under fire after buying buildings in pursuit of civic office rebuild.
This effectively reduces the cabinet meeting in September to little more than a rubber stamping exercise. Sure, the motion to scrap the scheme will be ‘discussed’ but as the ball is already rolling with properties being brought up, it will be dismissed. It’s clear that the views of non cabinet council members let alone the public of Thurrock do not matter to the cabal of ruling group councillors and senior council officers who seem determined to push this scheme through regardless.
If anyone had any illusions left about the effectiveness of local democracy, this has to be the end of them. The actions of an unaccountable cabal in implementing the purchase of properties in order to progress the extension and redevelopment of the council offices means they expect the green light come September. Effectively, the decision has already been made and what we’re seeing is nothing more than window dressing.
Yet again, this shows that the system for local (and national) governance we have is unaccountable and not fit for purpose. Yet again we ask this question – how much longer are people going to put up with this before something snaps?