Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 27th January, 2021 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:


No. Item


Tribute pdf icon PDF 449 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 25 November 2020.

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The Mayor made the following tribute:


Mr Albert England


Albert England was a friend to many here this evening. I am sure, like me, the news of his passing stopped all who knew him in their tracks. I am sure, like me, your thoughts turned immediately to Mrs Wyn England and their family.


Albert England’s military career was well known. Albert was part of what was known as a combined operation, with the Navy and Army working together. In June 1944, Albert helped pilot a landing craft to the Normandy beaches. As with so many ships, Albert’s boat was bombed, and he was rescued from the sea. In 2015, Albert was appointed to the rank of Chevalier by the French Government in recognition of his service – Councillor Cathy Kent received his insignia on Albert’s behalf and handed it to Albert in this Chamber where he received a standing ovation. Albert was later flown to Burma where he served with honour. Back in Thurrock, both Wyn and Albert were the backbone of Thurrock’s Burma Star Association for many years, ensuring members had someone to turn to and support them. They were the inspiration behind the rose garden installed in Orsett where annual services were still being held. Thurrock Burma Star Association received the Freedom of the Borough in 2008. As well as being remembered as a distinguished veteran, Albert was also a lifelong Thurrock resident. He attended Orsett Primary School as a young boy from 1930 till the age of 11. Albert would often visit school children to share the memory of his experiences in the Second World War. In  2019 Albert and Wyn presented Thurrock Burma Star Association’s Union Jack Standard and Shield to Orsett Primary School for longevity and safekeeping. Albert worked for Shell in Coryton and lived in Corringham. Albert was a much loved member of the local community, the service community and a friend to Thurrock. Rest in peace Albert, you will be missed.


Mr Baldev Singh Gill 


Many members would have known Mr Gill as a leading member of the Sikh community in Thurrock. Indeed, Mr Gill was President of the Gurdwara Sikh temple in Grays which had done so much to engage with communities over the years, helping to teach about the Sikh religion and culture. Others would remember Mr Gill as a familiar resident of Grays, often seen around the town, always with a welcoming smile. As well as the important leadership role he played within the Sikh community, Mr Gill sought to build stronger community networks between different faiths, and between different communities, active over the years with many different organisations to consider local issues. I have had many dealings with Baldev over the years, firstly through the Thurrock Faith Matters organisation and later during my time with Thurrock CVS. He would be remembered as a gentle and kind man who always made time for others. Our thoughts are with Mr Gill’s family at this difficult time.


Mr Eddie Coull


Mr Coull  ...  view the full minutes text for item 187.



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The minutes of the meeting of Council held on the 25 November 2020 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.

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There were no urgent items of business.



Declaration of Interests

To receive any declaration of interests from Members.

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There were no declarations of interest.


The Mayor announced he would change the order of the agenda and to take Item 10 next.




Police Fire & Crime Commissioner (Presentation and Q&A) pdf icon PDF 610 KB

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The Mayor welcomed Roger Hirst, the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner, and Chief Inspector Richard Melton to the meeting and asked they delivered their presentation which would then be followed by questions by members. Roger Hirst updated members on the following:


·       Recorded crime and anti-social behaviour had been significantly impacted by COVID. The effects on policing demand, the types of incidents and crimes reported to Essex Police as a result of COVID had been complex and had not been uniform across all fields.

·       During the 12 month reporting period up to November 2020 crime had decreased in Thurrock by 13%.

·       Operation policing command in Thurrock in 2019/20 were in excess of 300 hours of patrols, arrested 150 individuals, conducted 150 stop and search and had attended 4000 reported incidents.

·       Operation SHIELD, a trial tackling repeat risk/violent domestic abuse offenders.

·       Operation ENVISON, being run to understand why victims of domestic abuse who were not supportive of Police action.

·       The “Ports as a Community” project to look to increase intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies to strengthen borders and support victims of organised immigration crime.

·       Emergency (999) and non-emergency (101) remained a priority focus with significant improvements being seen year on year.

·       Next steps were: tackling gangs and drug-driven violence, domestic abuse and prevention activities.


The full PowerPoint can be found on-line from the following link:


Members raised the following questions:


Councillor Spillman: Referred to domestic abuse and questioned what had been the main challenges faced during the pandemic and what operational changes had been made to tackle them. Roger Hirst stated the Police had been very alert and had tried very hard to make themselves accessible with work being undertaken with charities. That a recent National Initiative called ANI would assist people with reporting by less obvious means. The J9 project had been launched to help other people to understand how to spot signs of domestic abuse and how to report it. That advertising had been undertaken alongside social media. Chief Inspector Richard Melton stated there needed to be a way to predict those at risk or provide other platforms for victims to come forward. Operation SHIELD had been rolled out across the whole county to work around prevention before it became a problem and the provision to provide better platforms would be an ongoing piece of work. Members were assured there was the commitment to deal with not only perpetrators but to give victims every opportunity to come forward and would be mindful and keep a close eye on the situation when lockdown started to finish.


Councillor Redsell: Referred to the Motorcycle problem in Thurrock with some perpetrators drawing knifes on residents and questioned what more could be done to help prevent this. Roger Hirst stated this was a priority and asked Chief Inspector Richard Melton to provide a response from a local level. Chief Inspector Richard Melton agreed this was a blight on Thurrock and was a high priority with some good joint working with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 191.


Announcements on behalf of the Mayor or the Leader of the Council

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The Mayor made thanks to those who had continued to work through the pandemic to ensure vital services were maintained where possible and thanked the voluntary sector who had played an important role in keeping in contact and supporting the vulnerable in Thurrock.


The Mayor stated as he was not able to attend functions due to the pandemic he had continued to make small donations to local voluntary groups to enable them to carry on the support for local residents.


The Mayor hoped by the end of his time as mayor he would be able to visit some of the voluntary groups to express his gratitude on all the work they had carried out over the last year.


Councillor Hebb, Deputy Leader of the Council, echoed the tributes made this evening and sent best wishes to Councillor Fletcher and his family.


Councillor Hebb then made the following announcements:


In regards to COVID-19 the rate of infection in Thurrock was moving in the right direction in all age groups but were by no means out of the woods yet. We were in fact still very much in the grip of the more infectious variant which had led to the huge spike in local infections that we were still experiencing despite the drop in positive tests we have seen in the past weeks. That it was now more important than ever we keep on doing all we can to stop the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The simple truth was we all needed to act like we had COVID and anyone we meet had it as well. By following hands, face, space advice, practising social distancing and taking extra care to look out for one another we would be playing an active role in defeating the virus. Those who seek to bend or break the rules not only pose a risk to themselves, their loved ones and our communities, they hindered our chances of leaving national lockdown and being able to get back to more relaxed restrictions.


In regards to vaccinations, these were being given to the groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as being most at risk. This included those living and working in the borough’s care homes, those aged 80 and over and then the over 70s and those who were clinically extremely vulnerable. That residents and staff in our care homes were being given vaccines right now while vaccines were also being delivered to the other priority groups across the borough’s two vaccine centres at Chadwell Medical Centre and Stifford Clays Health Centre. That plans were also being put in place to ensure all housebound residents would be visited and given their vaccine at home. The key message here was there was no need for anyone to call their doctor, you would be notified directly by the NHS. There was no charge for a vaccine and the NHS would never ask you to share bank details to confirm  ...  view the full minutes text for item 192.


Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 5 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

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There were no public questions received.


Petitions from Members of the Public and Councillors

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2(Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

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The Mayor informed Members that in accordance with the Council’s petition scheme, no requisition of notice had been given to present a petition at the meeting.



Petitions Update Report pdf icon PDF 103 KB

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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.

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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 Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Hebb, informed the Chamber he had no changes to make.   


Councillor J Kent, Leader of the Labour Group, informed the Chamber he had no changes to make. 


Councillor Byrne, Leader of the Thurrock Independent Group informed the Chamber he had no changes to make.  


Councillors Massey and Allen informed the Chamber they had no changes to make.



Director of Public Health Recruitment pdf icon PDF 235 KB

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Councillor Halden introduced the report and sought the approval from Council to appoint to the interim Director of Public Health.  Following a search and selection process, the General Services Committee had interviewed on the 19 January 2021 and recommended the appointment of Jo Broadbentas interim Director of Public Health. The Council would be obliged to establish a specialist panel to conduct the recruitment of a permanent Director of Public Health with the final approval of appointment being granted by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.


The Mayor called a vote on the recommendations to which these were carried.



1.       To approve in accordance with the Council’s Constitution the appointment of Jo Broadbent as the interim Director of Public Health.

2.       To agree in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Chapter 2; Part 1; Article 4; 4:1) the appointment of the sub-committee set out at 4.5 below to conduct recruitment to the permanent Director of Public Health.

3.       To agree in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Chapter 2; Part 1; Article 4; 4:1) to discharge approval of the appointment to a permanent Director of Public Health to the sub-committee set out at 4.5 and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.




Local Council Tax Scheme pdf icon PDF 480 KB

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Councillor Hebb presented the report that provided details of Thurrock’s scheme and in line with the above there were no proposals to amend the scheme for 2021/22.


The Council were required to agree the scheme annually, even if there had been no changes. The current Local Council Tax Scheme had been implemented on the 1 April 2017 following consultation and had subsequently been agreed for each financial year with no changes.


Councillor Gerrish supported this item but asked for reassurance that a review of the scheme would be forthcoming next year as it was important the views of those who used the scheme were heard to ensure it reflected the needs of the community. Councillor Hebb stated the focus this year had been to stabilise the offer with the offer being increased by £0.85 million and it was important to engage in line with university credit reviews but at this time it was to stabilise the offer and offer support where the Council could. Councillor Hebb gave Councillor Gerrish the commitment this would be done at the right time.




That Council agreed to maintain the existing scheme for 2021/22.




Report of the Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Anti-Social Behaviour pdf icon PDF 262 KB

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The item was withdrawn.


Report of the Cabinet Member for Environment and Sports & Leisure pdf icon PDF 468 KB

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Councillor Watkins presented his fourth annual report which was being delivered under very different and difficult circumstances. Firstly, Councillor Watkins acknowledged the amazing work being undertaken by staff either on the front line or in offices for the work undertaken this year and thanked every member of staff for their contribution. Councillor Watkins passed on his thoughts and well wishes to those who had lost family and friends in the current pandemic.


Some of the key points made were:


·       Residents were thanked for their patience over this difficult time where more waste was being collected where more people were at home.

·       The service has had to deal with an increased number of parked vehicles that had caused blocked access issues.

·       This and the absence of staff due to a number of reasons had put a great strain on the service.

·       The team had worked flat out to deliver the best service over this time.

·       During the pandemic and lockdown it would continue to prioritise the waste, refuse and recycling over this period and aimed to bring the garden service collections back up as quickly as was possible.

·       The first phase of the communal recycling programme had been rolled out with all council areas now complete.

·       Over the year this would be rolled out over private estates and work would begin with estate operators and residents.

·       Over this period the cleaner and greener teams had continued to do a fantastic job to keep the borough tidy.

·       Investments made had seen a magnificent difference and within the last two periods of the tranche scoring of the Keep Britain Tidy, the Council had seen the best scores they had ever seen.

·       The Active Place Strategy had been passed and would now enable sports which would make a difference within the borough.


Councillor Watkins stated that in 2021 when safe to do so, services would be resumed to where they once were and recognised this would not be easy. That garden waste would return when it was safe to do so without putting a strain on refuse and recycling collections. The HWRC site would be back to normal as soon as was possible. The Trailer Thursday would enable trailers to access the site all day on Thursdays on an initial trial basis but members were reminded this would be done to ensure the safety of staff on site and residents. Other projects would include the improvements of recycling, aim to launch a new recycling campaign “Getting Thurrock Recycling”, a new missed bin collection scheme, a separate food waste system to which a date had yet to be confirmed. Councillor Watkins encouraged members to come forward with any ideas, comments or feedback. Work would also continue to improve on street cleaning, cemeteries and tree strategies.


Councillor Redsell referred to the Sports Strategy and asked for assurance this would be taken forward as the youth of the borough need sport now and even more so post COVID. Councillor Watkins gave his reassurance and stated an update  ...  view the full minutes text for item 200.


Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 194 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

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The Mayor informed the Chamber that no questions to the Leader had been received and five questions to Cabinet Members. Those questions not heard would either receive a written response or have the option to withdraw and resubmit.


A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be found at Appendix A to these minutes.



Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies

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Councillor Hebb provided an update on the future management of funds by the Mucking Charitable Trust which was a charity that managed an endowment set up in 2011 to fund the costs of running the Thameside Nature Park in Mucking for a planned period of 99 years. That in September 2018, the trustees of the Mucking Charitable Trust proposed to pass the responsibility for safeguarding the restricted funds of the Mucking Charitable Trust to the directors of Thameside Nature Park Limited the charitable company responsible for managing the Thameside Nature Park but not the Visitors Centre housed within the Park. It was further proposed by the trustees of Mucking Charitable Trust that once the responsibility for safeguarding the funds and the transfer of the balance of funds, all in compliance with the rules of the Charity Commission, had been made to Thameside Nature Park Limited the Mucking Charitable Trust would be wound up and some of the present trustees of Mucking Charitable Trust would join the board of Thameside Nature Park Limited.  The view that amalgamating the effort would be beneficial for both parties. However, after months of endeavour on the part of the trustees for Mucking Charitable Trust the negotiations had not been successful, and consequently, the trustees of Mucking Charitable Trust decided in November 2020 to not pursue this at the current time, although remained open to future possibilities if they arose. After the closure of negotiations and in recognition of common practice within charities, the trustees of the Mucking Charitable Trust took the opportunity to review the make-up of their trustee board. As a result of that review, which was carried out at the end of November 2020, the trustees of the Mucking Charitable Trust decided to move the responsibilities and duties for the Chair of the Mucking Charitable Trust by appointing a paid-for trust company, Brachers Trust Corporation Limited, with this new arrangement beginning on 1 January 2021, and four out of the five current trustees of Mucking Charitable Trust would remain.


The key change was the Mucking Charitable Trust would now be chaired by a professional body, which would ensure best practice in line with the ever-changing requirements of the Charities Act and would work alongside the lay trustees who would continue to pursue the wishes of local people in all matters. Following completion of the changes the Mucking Charitable Trust was in good shape and in line with the original endowment and was ready to continue to provide financially support to the Thameside Nature Park Limited for many years to come.


Councillor Redsell provided members with an update as a member on the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel that a lot of good work had been achieved such as £20 million Class A drugs and £1.8 million in cash had been seized in Essex under the serious crime directorate which was part of an international operation and trained Police Officers would be coming through into the community.


Councillor Coxshall provided members with an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 202.


Minutes of Committees

Name of Committee


Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

9 September 2020

Standards and Audit Committee

10 September 2020

Planning Committee

22 October 2020

Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

6 October 2020

Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee

1 October 2020

Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee

13 October 2020

General Services Committee

9 November 2020

General Services Committee

16 November 2020

Corporate Parenting Committee

1 September 2020

Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education

4 November 2020

Planning Committee

26 November 2020

Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

5 November 2020


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The Minutes of Committees as set out in the Agenda were received.



Update on motions resolved at Council during the previous year pdf icon PDF 109 KB

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Members received an information report updating the progress in respect of Motions received at Council.



Motion received from Councillor Anderson pdf icon PDF 184 KB

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The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Anderson and seconded by Councillor Halden. The Motion read as follows:


Given the great importance the Conservative government has placed on the “prevent” agenda in terms of countering extremism, and the need to consider all of the human trafficking and modern day slavery implications of illegal entry and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children, especially in areas with a large waterfront or port industry, the chamber wishes to have an appropriate member’s forum for “prevent”.


Therefore, following the procedure used to constitute the Corporate Parenting Committee as a formal Council Committee, we instruct the monitoring officer to present relevant terms of reference for the next meeting of the Full Council to help better protect our communities and those who come into our care.


Councillor Anderson stated the motion recognised the seriousness and the challenges being faced with the Prevent agenda and would give members the opportunity to scrutinise and discuss issues in an appropriate forum. That the current Prevent Members Working Group did not reflect the need to scrutinise these issues to the required extent required. With Thurrock being a port locality it was already known the seriousness of legal entry. That the scrutiny of these issues would not only serve the community but for those vulnerable people who would come into care in Thurrock. The Motion sought to create one committee that would focus on those issues and provide members with a joined up picture and approach. That a report would need to be presented to the General Services Committee in the event the motion being passed and encouraged members to support these important issues.


Councillor Coxshall was pleased to support the motion which would enable the Council to do something themselves to get that to move forward and work together to make sure human trafficking and modern day slavery would be addressed as Thurrock would become more of a target with the increasing traffic coming into Thurrock ports. That the motion would enable members to be fully aware across the full aspects of the concerns that would affect planning and port issues. Councillor Coxshall concluded the change to the constitution would highlight this properly.


Councillor Allen stated his full support of the motion which would provide an opportunity for members to discuss and scrutinise.


Councillor Halden, as seconder of the motion, stated it was good to see there was no opposition to the motion. That the issues affected all 49 members and all 49 members should be able to engage with and see how issues were being actioned. Councillor Halden stated were the motion passed this evening he would encourage all members to engage in the work of the committee to formulate a works plan and provide the appropriate scrutiny which was so important to safeguarding.


Councillor Anderson thanked members for their comments and requested the motion moved to the vote.


The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.


Members voted in favour of this Motion to which the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 205.