Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 28th October, 2020 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


Minutes pdf icon PDF 397 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 30 September 2020.

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The minutes of the meeting of Council held on the 30 September 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.


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

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The Mayor requested that those Members laying wreaths on his behalf to do all they could to remain socially distanced and if there were more than six people gathered around the memorial to hang back until it was safe to lay the wreath. The Mayor announced that he would be laying a wreath at Purfleet on Thames this Sunday and on the 8 November would be attending the Remembrance Day Service at St Peters and St Pauls Church in Grays at 11am and then would be laying a wreath at Chafford Hundred in the afternoon. The Mayor thanked all those residents who would be observing the two minutes silence and laying wreaths outside their own homes.


The Mayor also announced that he was still looking for imaginative ways of raising money for GiFT, the Mayor’s chosen charity, but this was proving difficult with the restriction on gatherings of more than six people.


The Mayor thanked the many shops and organisations that were supporting people during these arduous times.


The Deputy Leader of the Council made the following announcements on behalf of the Leader who had been taken unwell and was unable to join the meeting this evening.


In regards to COVID, the Council had taken the decision that Thurrock should remain in the lowest risk level, Medium Alert or Tier 1, based on the available data, information and balancing the risk posed by coronavirus with the harm we knew would be caused to our residents if stricter rules were imposed on their lives. The decision was not made based on just one metric, that being the number of positive COVID tests per 100,000 people in the population, but on a number of factors including the number of residents in hospital and the number of deaths where COVID was a factor. Councillor Hebb confirmed that between the 1 September 2020 and the 27 October 2020, 17 people from Thurrock had positive COVID results and had entered hospitalisation at Basildon Hospital and positive result tests was still being seen across the borough. It was important to note that the outbreaks in Thurrock were in two specific non-community environments, those in a single care home and in hospital where there was an increased positive infection rates attributed to those settings.


We know that Thurrock’s strong communities, determination and common sense have helped but we have so much more to do. We must ensure we remain vigilant against the threat posed by COVID, now was not the time to allow complacency to creep in. We have already come together to achieve so much. By carrying on taking personal responsibility, playing our part and looking out for each other we can continue to make sure the borough stays as safe as possible. We now must play an active role in the fight against his virus and that none of us could have predicted that we would find ourselves in this position but would definitely have predicted that Thurrock and our communities would have risen so  ...  view the full minutes text for item 160.


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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No questions from members of the public had been 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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No notices of petition had been received.


Petitions Update Report pdf icon PDF 113 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. 


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


Councillor J Kent, Leader of the Labour Group, informed the Chamber he had the following change to make:


For Councillor Liddiard to replace Councillor Worrall on the Prevent Violent Extremism Members Working Group.


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.


Assistant Director Appointments pdf icon PDF 235 KB

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Councillor Hebb introduced the report and sought the approval from Council to appoint to the Assistant Director Children’s Social Care and Early Help and Assistant Director Planning, Transport and Public Protection. That following a robust search and selection process, General Services Committee interviewed on 14 October 2020 and unanimously agreed to recommend the appointment of Joseph Tynan as Assistant Director Children’s Social Care and Early Help and Leigh Nicholson as Assistant Director Planning, Transport and Public Protection. These were both supported by the recommendations of the Stakeholder Panels. 


The Mayor called a vote on recommendations 1 and 2 to which the Members voted unanimously in favour.




1.         That Council approved in accordance with the Council’s Constitution the appointment of Joseph Tynan as the permanent Assistant Director Children’s Social Care and Early Help.


2.         That Council approved in accordance with the Council’s Constitution the appointment of Leigh Nicholson as the permanent Assistant Director Planning, Transport and Public Protection.


Report of the Cabinet Member for Education pdf icon PDF 420 KB

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Councillor Jefferies stated he was privileged to present his first portfolio holder report for education and some of the areas covered in this speech were:

·         Having taken up his role in February 2020, two months later the country had gone into lockdown due to the pandemic and would like to thank all teaching staff, teaching assistants, dinner ladies, care takers and everyone else who worked in Thurrock schools who ensured that children in Thurrock received their education and ensured that free school meals were provided in the Easter and Summer holidays for some of Thurrock’s most vulnerable children.

·         Due to the pandemic, he had been unable to visit schools and had begun a weekly zoom call with head teachers and CEOs for them to tell us how things were going in their schools.

·         That schools communicated regularly with their children and there had been some great examples of teachers engaging with their pupils.

·         That at the start of the lockdown, schools remained open for key worker children with the average number of 300 to 400 pupils per day and had dropped off to about 200 pupils a day at Easter.

·         That all schools should be commended as once the Government stated they could reopen, all the schools reacted positively and ensured that children returned as quickly and safely as possible.

·         Thanked the Education Team who had worked hard to ensure that support was provided for all the educational settings and specifically thanked Sheila Murphy, Director of Children’s Services, and Michelle Lucas, Assistant Director of Education, who had always been there to offer help, advice and guidance.

·         That 92% of primary schools were rated as good and 70% of secondary schools had been rated as good or better.

·         Last year had achieved 100% of 16 year olds having a place of learning and hope to reach that target this year.

·         As part of the Skills Summit had brought together South Essex Skills and Education portfolios and alongside officers to plan how they could work together to provide the skills and training to help rebuild the local economy.

·         Agreed that the Head of the Adult College to work closely with Opportunity South Essex so that the best assistance can be provided to all Thurrock residents who were looking for additional skills and qualifications.

·         In September 2020 a new independent travel training session was launched for post 16 year old SEND pupils to equip them to travel independently.

·         Had attended a grand opening of the new Thameside Academy and wished staff and pupils all the best for the future and looked forward to visiting Orsett Heath Academy shortly that also opened in September.

·         Concluded by recognising the outstanding work of the education providers from early years, schools, post 16 and adults and all that had been achieved in this unprecedented times. 


Councillor Okunade thanked the portfolio holder for this report and asked for his response to the issue of Thurrock children going hungry as a result of the Government’s recent refusal to fund  ...  view the full minutes text for item 166.


Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategic Planning pdf icon PDF 191 KB

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Councillor Coxshall stated the world had changed dramatically since his last portfolio report due to COVID and in some way this may have affected the Council’s investment strategies and investments in the local economy but in some other ways this had not changed and the report demonstrated the good work that had been done over the last 18 months in the borough. With the Council working with the private sector, with Government funding, outside bodies and local authorities across the SELEP region.


Some of the areas covered in this speech were:

·         Tilbury2 - The borough’s first national significant infrastructure project was now complete with the process involving close joint working between the Council and Port of Tilbury. This was another port for Thurrock and had the honour of visiting there last week. That this port had been a Brexit dividend which would create 500 new jobs in the borough.

·         Two further development controller orders (i) Lower Thames Crossing had been handed over to the Secretary of State and was quickly moving onto inspections and onto the next stage and (ii) London Resorts would be a great economic benefit to Thurrock and could completely change the river front and how this could be used in the future with the opportunity of great leisure facilities.

·         That Tilbury and Grays received £25 million from the Towns Funds of which £1.2 million had to be spent before March 2021 on small changes but big improvements in both Tilbury and Grays. With a further £50 million for Tilbury and Grays to be spent by 2025 with the Council having until January 2021 to deliver plans on how this money would be spent.

·         Particularly pleased with Tilbury’s £25 million as for too many years Tilbury had been left behind.

·         That New River still had commitment to Thurrock and continued to see the great opportunities in Grays.

·         Local Plan – it was important to move forward at a rapid pace and Members would be contacted very shortly before this was moved onto the next stage with partners, Princes Foundation, officers and the portfolio holder. That community engagement would be vital to ensure they benefit from what they want.

·         Concluded that Thurrock was the best place to live, work and play and the report had demonstrated that.


Councillor Kerin thanked the portfolio holder for his report and raised the matter on the legal situation in regards to Thurrock Regeneration Limited and asked for the full composition of directors and the situation regarding the resignation of the three directors this year. Councillor Coxshall stated that post COVID had changed everything and what was needed was to relook at the delivery of housing strategies and a review would be required to ensure that good quality housing would be delivered and a paper would be presented to the General Services Committee with the results of what would happen with Thurrock Regeneration Limited.


Councillor Kerin referred to the A13 Widening Project and questioned the mitigation plan that was in place and asked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 167.


Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 193 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 8 questions to Cabinet Members. 


As the item fell due to time limit of the meeting Councillor J Kent resubmitted question 8 for November Council.


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


At 8.40pm, Councillor Coxshall, called Point of Order, asking that the Constitutional Working Group consider looking at the running of Council post COVID.




Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies

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The Mayor informed the Chamber that no reports had been received.


Minutes of Committees

Name of Committee


General Services Committee

3 August 2020

Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee

2 July 2020

Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

7 July 2020

General Services Committee

24 September 2020

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force Group

21 September 2020

Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee

7 September 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 117 KB

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


Councillor J Kent questioned why the Motion submitted by Councillor Rigby at the 26 February 2020 Council in regards to the high use of fireworks in the borough which was causing distress and injury to pets and wildlife and had an impact on air quality was not on this report. Councillor J Kent stated this should now be a priority as Members were still receiving emails from concerned residents and it seemed that little or no progress had been made on this motion. Councillor J Kent questioned the process of how this report was prepared and asked for a timeframe as to when the motion would be put in place as the Council did not want to be in the same position this time next year.