Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions
Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk
The Mayor invited the Acting Leader, Councillor Halden, to present a statement.
“This morning, the Police arrested an individual in West Thurrock, just outside of Lakeside, tragically discovering 39 dead bodies in the back of his lorry. My first statement is of course one of tremendous remorse for the loss of life of these tragic 39 souls at the hands of a criminal. This was a terrible crime and as a Council we will do whatever is needed and put in place whatever is needed to support agencies eradicate this evil.
Members can be assured the business continuity plan worked as it should have done. Our emergency command officers were notified at once by the Police, and I was informed early this morning by the Chief Executive. From here myself, Roger Harris, and relevant staff were in place all day to ensure the emergency plans were carried out as expected and support offered to the Police, Group Leaders and MP’s were notified.
From here, Council reached out to do the following:
• We ensured that despite the traffic issues that our care providers were able to get to vulnerable residents.
• Schools were contacted to ensure the adolescent mental health services was in place for the rest of the week to support children and any scared young people who had seen the news.
• We worked with the Red Cross and Lakeside businesses to make sure comfort on the scene facilities and support were in place for the emergency services.
• While our planning and highways teams were working with emergency services to review how we could best return the area to a degree of normality, we ensured the priority was supporting the Police in need for space and time for the Police investigation.
• We have offered alternative accommodation wherever possible for locally effected businesses within the cordoned area.
• We worked with the Police to ensure that community and media outlets reaching out to both communication teams from across the world were updated.
• And we guaranteed that we worked hand in glove with the Police to share relevant information regarding CCTV and other security information.
I know everyone was clamouring for more information throughout the day from the Council, but the responsible thing for us to do was work diligently with our partnership, but ensure the only line of communication was from Essex Police.
Speculation, while exciting for some, gets in the way of people doing their jobs.
Mr Mayor, I want to put on record my thanks to all partners. From health partners such as the Ambulance Service, CCG and Basildon and Broomfield hospitals who stepped forward to support necessary arrangements for the deceased, to the businesses in Lakeside and charities who supported the men and women in our emergency services, to the Council staff who ensured the organisation still functioned during such a terrible situation.
To this end, Thurrock Council will make a corporate donation to the Red Cross to thank them for their help and support, and I and the Acting CEO will visit the area tomorrow to thank staff.
Of course, my biggest thanks go to the Police. We see the Police each and every day, but it’s only when you sit on the other end of a phone and hear them talk about the most gruesome events and approach it with such professionalism and clarity that you truly see the depth and breadth of the work they do for the community.
They saw and dealt with things today which we all have the good fortunate of being kept away from, and we salute them for that.
Mr Mayor, events like this, events that assault our understanding of humanity, test our faith. It feels like our community had been violated. And it had. An area we all know as an area of leisure, surrounded by well-known businesses, schools and services, became a horrific scene as a result of this monster.
However, when you see business leaders interrupt their day to come forward to ask if they can support the emergency services with hot drinks, when your health leaders and school leaders make the approach to see if we need anything, and when you, as an elected member, receive texts from our local church community offering their prayers, we know the Thurrock community is strong, resilient, generous, and united.
Mr Mayor, clearly this situation had some way still to unfold. Thurrock Council will remain in constant contact with the Police to support their investigation and ensure the vital services in the area functioning. This will be a lengthy investigation and I can ensure you that the Council will work with all services to understand what else can be done, if anything, to better work holistically in the future to prevent such awful events.
The Council had for some time been working with the Home Office via the LGA in terms of support for the refugee programme. In light of today, I have asked the Corporate Director to intensify this work.
There had been a huge amount of commentary in the media regarding the victims, and while we do not yet have a clear picture, what is clear is that these people were indeed victims of an appalling crime. As such a condolence book had been placed in the Civic Offices reception for members and the public.
The Thurrock community will do what the Thurrock community does, which will offer our heartfelt prayers to all those involved in this situation. “From the Thames, to the people of the worlds” was this boroughs motto, this event had darkened our day, but will not undermine the ethos of this magnificent community.”
The Mayor invited Reverend John Guest to lead those present in prayer which followed by a minutes silence.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 18 September 2019.
The minutes of the Meeting of Council held on the 18 September 2019 were approved as a correct record.
Items of Urgent Business
To receive additional items that the Mayor 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.
No items of urgent business were received.
Declaration of Interests
To receive any declaration of interests from Members.
No interests were declared.
Announcements on behalf of the Mayor of the Council
The Mayor was pleased to announce that a donation of £600.00 had been received to his charity “Giving for Thurrock” from the Thurrock Nepalese Women’s Community.
In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.
A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be viewed under the relevant meeting date at http://democracy.thurrock.co.uk/thurrock and are attached at Appendix A at these minutes.
Petitions from Members of the Public and Councillors
In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2(Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.
Mayor informed Members that in accordance with the Council’s petition scheme, one requisition of notice had been given to present a petition at the meeting.
Councillor Redsell presented a petition on behalf of the residents of Woodside to note that the plans for the 300 pupil special needs school on the existing Tree Top site. Whilst residents supported the new school they were concerned about the traffic and air pollution this would cause in the area. The residents therefore asked for the construction of a new access road to the schools in order that existing and additional traffic be averted away from Woodside.
Members received a report on the status of those petitions handed in at Council meetings and Council offices.
Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies, Statutory and Other Panels
The Council are asked to agree any changes to the appointments made to committees and outside bodies, statutory and other panels, as requested by Group Leaders.
The Mayor enquired whether Group Leaders wished for any changes to be made to the appointments previously made by Committees and Outside Bodies, statutory and other panels.
The Acting Leader of the Council, Councillor Halden, informed the chamber that he had no changes to make.
Councillor Pothecary, Leader of the Labour Group, informed the chamber that she would like to make the following changes:
For Councillor Pothecary and Councillor Gerrish to be removed from the Standards and Audit Committee and replaced with Councillor Muldowney and Councillor C Kent.
Councillor Spillman, Leader of the Thurrock Independence Group, informed the chamber that he would like to make the following change:
For Councillor Spillman to be removed from the Health and Wellbeing Board.
The Mayor referred Members to the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report for 2018-19 as published in the Agenda.
That the contents of the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2018/19 be noted.
Councillor Halden presented the report and stated at the General Services Committee held on the 17 October 2019 it had been agreed across party that the constitution be amended to reflect some changes to processes at Full Council and in the recruitment and appointment of certain officers.
Councillor Pothecary thanked Councillor Halden for the report and stated that the review had been a good start, in the right direction, but there was still a long way to go. Councillor Pothecary stated her support to the recommendations in the report.
Councillor Spillman welcomed the report and in particular the amendment to increase time for portfolio presentations and questions. Councillor Spillman stated that the Council should look further to deliver Council and Committees outside of the Chamber so that more residents could engage.
Councillor Redsell questioned whether any consideration had been made to increase the time that members of the public got to present their questions to allow more time for residents to get their views heard.
Councillor Halden summed up and thanked Councillor Pothecary for her support. The new process of recruitment would be tested with the new senior appointments currently being undertaken.
Councillor Halden stated the change Councillor Spillman had requested was not a constitutional change and stated that should chairs and vice chairs of committees require more information they should ask for more meetings or for more reports to be presented.
Councillor Halden stated that the Constitution Working Group could consider Councillor Redsell request to increase time for public questions.
1. The appointment of all Directors and Assistant Directors on a permanent, interim or acting up basis, be carried out by the General Services Committee.
2. The appointment of all permanent Directors and Assistant Directors then be ratified at a meeting of the Full Council.
3. All formal non-minor (1) restructure, permanent or temporary, that impacts on the line management or breadth of responsibility of any Director or Assistant Director, and (2) any role title change to Director or Assistant Director, be notified to members of the General Services Committee for early engagement.
4. Formal recognition of the Shadow Cabinet from the largest opposition group – including the right to ask the first three questions of the Portfolio Holders on their annual reports.
5. Amend the time allocated for the presentation of the Portfolio Holders’ annual reports to Council to twenty minutes with a limit of seven minutes in total to cover both the introduction and summing up by the Portfolio Holder.
6. Amend the Constitution regarding the delegation to the Leader in approving acquisitions and disposals up to a value of £500,000 to a limit of £200,000 with all other approvals to be considered by the Cabinet.
7. Delegate authority to the Monitoring Officer and Director of HR respectively to make the relevant amendments in the Constitution and to the Pay Policy created by recommendations 1 to 6.
Councillor Coxshall presented the report that provided Members with an update on the preparation of the Thurrock Local Plan and set out the key messages received in response to the Thurrock Local Plan Issues and Options (Stage 2) Consultation Document which had been published for consultation in December 2016. Councillor Coxshall stated that between December 2016 and March 2019, 700 organisations and individuals had responded to the Issues Options (Stage 2) Consultation with nearly 3,000 separate comments having been made in response to the 40 questions set out in the Consultation Document. In agreement with the recommendation, the consultation and review would be published. Councillor Coxshall stated that it was critical to move forward onto the next stage of the plan making process to prepare a full Draft (Regulation 18) Local Plan.
Councillor Kerin as Chair of the Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee, thanked Councillor Coxshall for the report and asked for a guarantee in the Local Plan that Thurrock would benefit from helping other boroughs with their housing needs.
Councillor Pothecary thanked Councillor Coxshall for the report and was heartened to see responses being reflected in the consultation responses. Councillor Pothecary questioned how these responses would be developed and tackled and to ensure that any further consultation included the engagement of all residents.
Councillor Spillman stated the report was helpful but only told Members what was already known and requested that the Council be more vocal on national housing, affordable and social housing.
Councillor Halden stated with the impact from all 49 Members would enable the vision of the Local Plan to be moved forward and to ensure that the Local Plan was in conjunction with other Council policies.
Councillor Worrall welcomed the report and stated that there was still a long way to go and had been mindful of how housing would dominate the Local Plan and to ensure that when consultations took place that key workers were engaged with as key worker housing would be a vital part of the plan.
Councillor Redsell stated that the Local Plan across parties was coming together and stated that the River should be used more diligently which would take some of the strain off the roads.
Councillor Okunade commended where the Local Plan had got to but stated that the final consultation should be more balanced for the communities to ensure residents did not feel deprived.
Councillor Ralph echoed the comments made about the River Front and was disappointed this was not in the Local Plan. Although there was a need to build more new homes it was essential that green spaces, parks and open spaces were not lost. Councillor Ralph also stated there had been no mention of road links to rail networks and these should be considered going forward.
Councillor Little agreed that it was vital that engagement with communities took place and thanked those Officers who had spoken with her ward residents.
Councillor Coxshall thanked Members for their helpful comments and how well the ... view the full minutes text for item 70.
Councillor Watkins stated he was pleased to be presenting his third Portfolio Holder report and updated members on the services as part of this portfolio, the successes and future plans:
• Waste collection services configuration had remained largely unchanged with three wheeled bins being collected from every household each week.
• Recycling KPI had been achieved.
• Recycling Pilot had been successful.
• Delivering the best service to ensure cemeteries remain clean, tidy and respectful.
• Address those Keep Britain Tidy scores not met.
• Waste Management Working Group had been set up.
• Roll out of the Sports and Leisure Strategy.
• Park Engagement Officers had been recruited and engaged with sport groups.
• Work will continue on improving and refreshing the Air Quality & Health Thurrock Strategy.
• Fleet Management service continued to provide key support to Environment and Highway teams.
• Address road changes where being inappropriate used.
Councillor Watkins thanked Officers, teams, community groups and residents for the work undertaken.
Councillor J Kent stated that £3.4 million had been committed to the new development of the Linford Household Waste and Recycling Centre and questioned what temporary or alternative site had been consideration whilst the development was underway. Councillor Watkins stated the Council were working with contractors to ensure that as many of the services stayed on site as much as possible whilst the work was being undertaken. The new development would be bigger, safer for residents and other services available such as reusable items for charities.
Councillor Pothecary commented on the successful pilot for supporting recycling in flats within the borough and questioned the Portfolio Holder whether funds would be committed to have the same facilities in all the flats in the borough. Councillor Watkins stated further sites had been identified following resident engagement and comments had been taken on board. The cross party Waste Management Working Group had been established which would like at those options. That better engagement with residents would be undertaken to understand what needed to be done. A consultation would shortly commence to seek the views of residents.
Councillor Spillman stated that not enough was being done to promote sport groups in the borough and asked for the Portfolio Holder assurance that this was not the case and what action would be taken to promote such groups. Councillor Watkins stated he had attended the sports awards two weeks ago and was committed and passionate about sport groups. Work would be undertaken with those groups and the community to get a better understanding on what was needed. Park Engagement Officers would also continue to work with the community on park equipment.
Councillor Holloway questioned whether the policy had changed in allowing non Thurrock residents to use the Linford Household Waste and Recycling Centre.
Councillor Worrall questioned when the Park Strategy would be complete and what clear action would be undertaken to all the parks in the borough.
Councillor Muldowney commented on the poor response times of fly tipping being reported in Chadwell and ... view the full minutes text for item 71.
Councillor Maney stated he was pleased to be presenting his first Portfolio Holder report and updated members on the services as part of this portfolio, the successes and the future plans:
• The Council maintained and managed road networks that were fit for purpose.
• The Capital Programme had seen 19 roads been resurfaced so far this year.
• 1156 network inspections had taken place.
• 3285 pot holes had been repaired.
• 98% of those pot holes repairs had been carried out within agreed timeframes.
• Updates on the successes of the Clean It Cut It Fill It initiatives.
• 629 gullies had already been attended between January and August 2019.
• £1m of funding had become available this year to deliver the Kerb It scheme.
• Kerb It scheme would be explored into other areas.
• £971,000 investment in the Integrated Transport Block which will deliver improvements in the Council’s priority areas across the borough and work to continue to install the long-awaited east-facing slip roads at the A126 junction of the A13.
• The broad range of exceptional education and practical road safety initiatives.
• Priority given on the safety of school children.
• Enforcement – should be firm but fair.
• Pilot of new means of enforcement such as CCTV and create width restrictions.
• Address HGVs parking on pathways.
• Parking Permit Schemes had been reviewed and recommended.
• Committed to 2-way traffic scheme in Grays town centre.
• Winter gritting will be monitored.
Councillor Maney stated he would be happy to speak individually to residents or Members outside of the meeting.
Councillor Kerin, as chair of the Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee, thanked the Portfolio Holder for the report but questioned whether the Portfolio Holder agreed that the number of Civil Enforcement Officers should be increased. Councillor Maney stated he was passionate about enforcement with enforcement rules in place and that any surplus monies would be reinvested. The current enforcement team was small with the Portfolio Holder agreeing to support an increase should there be a need for the team to expand.
Councillor Pothecary questioned whether the Administration were determined to see that the key transport projects being undertaken in the borough were finished. Councillor Maney stated that the Administration were determined to deliver and was confident that the major undertakings would be finished with Officers leading on these projects.
Councillor Spillman stated that the A13 widening project had been poorly managed and asked the Portfolio Holder how much the project was over budget and delayed by. Councillor Maney stated that delays had occurred as costs had spiralled but confirmed that the right people were now in place to put this project back on track with the focus to deliver the project as quickly as possible.
Councillor Duffin questioned progress on the Stanford Le Hope rail station and asked for an update when the project would start and projected completion times.
Councillor Fletcher questioned whether there was money available to implement ... view the full minutes text for item 72.
In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.
The Mayor informed the Chamber that two questions to the Leader had been received and six questions to Cabinet Members. Those questions not heard would receive a written response.
A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be found at Appendix A to these minutes.
At 9.30pm the Mayor called time on this item.
Councillor Mayes requested his two questions be resubmitted to November Council.
Councillor Fish requested question be resubmitted to November Council.
Councillor Worrall requested a written response.
Councillor Collins requested question be resubmitted to November Council.
Councillor Jefferies left the chamber at 9.23pm.
Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies
This item fell due to time limit of meeting being met.
Minutes of Committees
This item fell due to time limit of meeting being met.
This item fell due to time limit of meeting being met.
Councillor Gerrish in presenting his motion made reference to some alterations made to the version published in the agenda which reflected some amendments from Councillor Spillman’s Amendment.
The Motion now read as follows:
“Thurrock Council therefore resolves to:
1.1 Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ that requires urgent action;
1.2 Request that the Council’s activities become net-zero carbon by 2030;
1.3 Request that the Council embed this work in all areas and take responsibility for reducing, as rapidly as possible, the carbon emissions resulting from the Council’s activities;
1.4 Request that the relevant Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Climate Change convenes a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change and a Climate Change partnership group, involving Councillors, residents, young citizens, climate science and solutions experts, businesses and other relevant parties. Over the following 6 months, the Group should consider strategies and actions being developed by the Council and other partner organisations and develop a strategy in line with a target of net zero emissions by 2030. It should also recommend ways to maximise local benefits of these actions in other sectors such as employment, health, agriculture, transport and the economy. The membership of this group should be agreed in consultation with Group Leaders;
1.5 Request that all reports in preparation for the 2020/21 budget cycle and investment strategy will take into account the actions the Council will take to address this emergency;
1.6 Request that the Leader write to the UK Government asking them to provide the powers, resources and help with funding to make this possible, and ask local MPs to do likewise.”
Councillor Gerrish was proud to present the Motion and recognised the need in Thurrock to address climate change due to the increase of air pollution, potential flooding, the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, proposed 13,000 new homes to be built in the borough and that this was the perfect time to make this statement. That Thurrock Council should take the lead on this and hoped that it would be tackled across party.
Councillor Gerrish was happy to take some of the amendments from Councillor Spillman Amendment Motion and agreed to accept 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3; altered the wording on 1.4 to say 6 months and added “membership of this group should be agreed in consultation with group leaders”; agreed to accept 1.5 and 1.6 but did not accept 1.7.
A proposed amendment to the Motion had been submitted by Councillor
Halden. The amended Motion read as follows:
“Thurrock Council therefore resolves to:
1.1 Declare that climate, pollutant and ecology issues require real action;
1.2 Request that the Council’s activities aim to become carbon neutral by 2050, in line with the government target;
1.3 Request that the Council embed this work in all areas and take responsibility for reducing, as rapidly as possible and practical, the carbon emissions resulting from the Council’s activities;
1.4 Request that the relevant Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Climate
Change convenes a Cross Party Council Working Group on climate issues. Over the following 6 months, the Group ... view the full minutes text for item 77.