Firstly we have this: Work begins on temporary additions at Stanford station.

Following on swiftly, we have this: Council confirms A13 delay and spiraling costs.

These are infrastructure projects that Thurrock Council is taking the lead on and both are experiencing cost overruns and delays. In the case of the railway station at Stanford-le-Hope, it’s not even certain that we’ll ever see the shiny new state of the art station that we’ve been promised. We may just end up being lumbered with the ‘temporary’ facilities for a decade or more.

It’s bad enough with one infrastructure project overrunning on costs and completion being delayed. When you have two projects going wrong in one small area of the borough, adversely impacting the lives of local residents, it’s not surprising that the reputation of Thurrock Council has sunk to an all time low.

In both cases, the councillors with oversight of the projects are having to prise information out of council officers to try and get to the root of what’s gone wrong. Pre-planning of major infrastructure projects by council officers is failing as potential problems are not anticipated and measures to deal with issues that are arising are reactive rather than proactive. Hence the massive cost overruns.

A pattern appears to be emerging. It involves senior officers who think they know best but have failed to deliver on effective pre-planning of infrastructure projects, Exacerbating this are lead councillors not being fully kept in the loop. We as humble residents are only finding out about these failures because of the diligent journalism of the Thurrock & South Essex Independent.

This is the same authority that wants to build an extension to the civic offices in New Road, Grays: Wrong priorities! What could possibly go wrong? The project is costed at £10 million but given the above examples, stands every chance of becoming another cost overrun statistic. Although as this is a council vanity project, we suspect that there won’t be any delays with no expense spared to complete it!

To all intents and purposes, Thurrock Council is starting to show the signs of being a failing authority. One where senior officers can screw up with seeming impunity, even when the lives of residents are adversely impacted. One where it appears lead councillors are drip fed information rather than being fully kept in the loop.

This is yet another example of the rot that has set in with local authorities – a rot that makes any notion of local democracy seem like an utter sham.