Plonkers of the year: Thurrock Council
The Thurrock Council initiated re-development of the railway station at Stanford-le-Hope has descended into utter farce. Underestimated costs, not having the land they need to fulfil the original vision, virtually non-existent communication with staff, users of the station and local residents and, last but by no means least, ‘temporary’ facilities that include a ticket office on the other side of the main road from the station! Thurrock Council, you richly deserve the award of ‘plonkers of the year’!
Scumbags of the year: Thurrock Council…
A cabal of (minority) ruling group Tories and senior council officers has ruthlessly pushed through plans to extend the civic offices of Thurrock Council in New Road Grays. The footprint of the extension included a number of businesses run by people of migrant origin – businesses that served the local community. The business owners were treated with utter contempt by the council. Residents of Grays objecting to the scheme were also treated with contempt. Thurrock Council, you are scumbags…
…and Essex County Council
This is for their plans to close many branch libraries across the county. Branch libraries are vital community hubs. It’s the extra-curricular stuff that happens at libraries such as reading clubs and the like that make them a vital part of our communities. Not to mention the fact that for those kids who come from chaotic homes, their local library is a sanctuary where they can study and do their homework. The difference between being cast on the scrapheap or having a chance in life. All of these intangible benefits of libraries are things that the narrow minded bean counters at Essex County Council can’t seem to grasp. Their devious plan to offload many branch libraries by attempting to encourage ‘community groups’ to take over their running while failing to offer the resources they’d need to do the job properly is disgustingly cynical.
Campaign of the year – Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE)
SOLE have made the case for why local libraries play a vital role in our communities and why we have to fight plans from Essex County Council to close them (by stealth) in the name of austerity. Any campaign that can get people marching on the streets of places like Galleywood, Manningtree and Shenfield in what are to all intents and purposes, protests against the impact of austerity has to have something pretty special going for it. As anarchists, we like the tactic of dispersed, community based local actions and over the last year, the local SOLE groups have shown us how it can be done. What we really liked was the way each action reflected the nature of the community they took place in. The fight to thwart Essex County Council will be a long one but we’re quietly confident that SOLE will see them off.