Agenda and minutes

Extraordinary, Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 7th March, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL.

Contact: Lucy Tricker, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:

Note: Extraordinary 


No. Item


Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972. To agree any relevant briefing notes submitted to the Committee.

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There were no items of urgent business.


Declaration of Interests

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Councillor John Kent declared a non-pecuniary interest for Item 10 as he was employed by Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions (TLS).


Thameside Centre pdf icon PDF 157 KB

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The Chair stated that three public questions had been received and these would be heard in the order they had been submitted. He invited Mr Neil Woodbridge to read his question.

Mr Woodbridge raised a point of clarification that the building was named the Thameside Complex, rather than the Thameside Centre as stated in the report. He added that the Thurrock International Celebration of Culture (TICC) was a community interest company, and this had been omitted from the report. Mr Woodbridge moved on and read his question as follows:

“Our proposals indicated a partnership-based approach with the Council, assuming that the Council would wish to not only share risk but also reward to enable the asset to remain a public asset.  Will you still consider any partnership based models that assume Council participation in your call for new proposals, or is the Council seeking to completely divest itself of the Thameside entirely with no stake in it at all as a public asset?”

The Director of Place responded that the Council’s position for the proposals of the Thameside had changed over the life of the process, and highlighted that earlier in the process Mr Woodbridge had received guidance that a partnership process would be appropriate. He stated that he had met with Mr Woodbridge and TLS/TICC at the end of 2022 to discuss the changes to the approach and had expressed concern that the bid may require council support. He explained that the bid needed to show a reduction in financial dependence, and needed to consider the effects of the S114 notice. He added that the proposed recommendation was to consult on a cultural model, which could provide more time to amend proposals and demonstrate that the TLS/TICC bid was financially sustainable. The Director of Place confirmed that the report did not include a decision to dispose of the Thameside building, and the team would consider any revised proposals in light of the S114 notice and the need for financial sustainability.

The Chair invited Mr Woodbridge to ask a supplementary question. Mr Woodbridge highlighted the potential capital cost of £20m which was listed in the original report, and included investment of £300,000 in year one of a ten-year proposal. He stated that many things on the Thameside Complex red list had already begun, and felt that the building did not require as much investment as the Council had listed. The Director of Place responded that the council had considered investment over the lifecycle of a thirty-year lease, and this had included some of the immediate health and safety compliance work that had already been undertaken. He felt that there would be differing opinions over the works that would need to be carried out at the Thameside, but this would need to include replacing lifts, vent maintenance, electrical maintenance, and internal/external decoration.

The Chair invited Ms. Sam Byrne to read her question as follows:

“TICC & TLS applied for a Community Asset Transfer; we submitted our bid in March 2022.  We have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Greater Essex Devolution pdf icon PDF 124 KB

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The Director of Strategy, Engagement and Growth introduced the report and stated that the devolution proposal was in response to the Government’s White Paper and framework in 2022. She explained that the report outlined the opportunities, as listed in the White Paper, as well as wider opportunities for Thurrock outside of the framework. She stated that Appendix 2 contained the Expression of Interest, but the purpose of the report was to start a conversation between local authorities in Essex with Government and did not decide upon a deal. She explained that any potential deal would take approximately six months to negotiate, and would require member agreement and public consultation. She commented that the report would be going to Cabinet next week and would present two options: the first being support the Expression of Interest; the second being to play no further part in Greater Essex Devolution moving forward. She explained that similar devolution reports had been through Cabinet at Essex County Council and Southend-on-Sea City Council, who had both supported the Expression of Interest. She stated that Southend City Council had not supported the level three option, but had supported level two. Councillor Coxshall added that the conversation regarding devolution was also being discussed by the borough’s MPs, and felt it was important to engage in the process.

Councillor Kent agreed that Thurrock should be part of a devolution deal, but did not agree that Greater Essex devolution would be right for Thurrock. He felt that the differences between north and south Essex were too great, as Thurrock was drawn closer to London than other parts of Essex. He expressed concern regarding the role of Essex County Council, as Chelmsford was far from Thurrock and Thurrock collected more business rates than elsewhere in Essex, and felt that this should not be distributed across the county. He also felt concerned regarding the mayoral model and accompanying council tax precept, as he felt this would add another level of government. He questioned when the all Member briefing session had been held, and if Thurrock Members had been invited. The Director of Strategy, Engagement and Growth replied that two all Member briefings had been arranged in January by Tendring Council, and all Essex Councillors had been invited. Councillor Coxshall shared some of Councillor Kent’s concerns, but felt that Thurrock needed to be involved in the conversation. He stated that a south Essex devolution deal was not currently being proposed, but this may be a viable option in future. He also shared concern regarding the impact devolution could have on the Thames Freeport, as the devolution deal would mean two Freeports in one combined authority area, which could be difficult to deliver. Councillor Kent added that as Essex also contained two major airports, the taxes of which would be hypothecated across the county. He also felt the Expression of Interest could be more ambitious in that regard.

The Chair sought clarification regarding the different devolution levels proposed. The Director of Strategy, Engagement and Growth  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.