Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 1st March, 2023 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:


No. Item

Items 11 and 17 fell prior to the meeting.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 25 January 2023.

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Councillor Jefferies noted on item 109 of the minutes from the Council meeting held on the 25 January 2023 it had been recorded that Councillor Holloway had voted in favour of the motion whereas she had voted against. On that amendment being made, members agreed the minutes.


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 items of urgent business.


Declaration of Interests

To receive any declaration of interests from Members.

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Councillor J Kent declared a non-pecuniary in respect of item 22 as he was an employee at Lifestyle Solutions.


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

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The Mayor made the following announcements in regard to his mayoral events:


Saturday 11 March 2023, celebration of Commonwealth Day at the Purfleet Military Heritage Centre

Monday 13 March 2023, raising the Commonwealth Flag at the Town Hall

Friday 28 April 2023, Civic Dinner


The Mayor’s events had raised over £19,000 for his mayoral charities.


The Mayor hoped members could support these events with further information available from the Mayor’s office. The Mayor thanked the large business donors who had continued to support the Mayor’s charities so generously.


Councillor M Coxshall, Leader of the Council, made the following announcement that over the last four to six months he had been proud in leading this council, working with the acting chief executive to secure a stable footing and a future for the borough of Thurrock.


Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 55 KB

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

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One question was received from a member of public.


A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be viewed under the relevant meeting date at and are attached at Appendix A at these minutes


\m 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 the chamber that two notices of petition had been received this evening.


Councillor Byrne presented his petition regarding the closure of Corringham Post Office. In response to this Councillor M Coxshall acknowledged the petition.


Mr Green presented his petition calling on Thurrock Council and the Police to work together to better support the community. In response to this Councillor Maney acknowledged the petition.


Petitions Update Report pdf icon PDF 59 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 there were any changes to be made to the appointments previously made by committees and outside bodies, statutory and other panels.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor M Coxshall, stated he had one change to replace Councillor Abbas as substitute on the Planning Committee with Councillor Mayes.


The Leader of the Labour group, Councillor J Kent, stated he had no changes to make.


Councillors Byrne, Massey and Allen stated they had no changes to make.


Appointment of Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer pdf icon PDF 96 KB

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Councillor M Coxshall presented the report by stating under Section 35 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 required the Council to appoint a Returning Officer and under Section 8 of the same Act the Council must appoint an Electoral Registration Officer. The purpose of the report was to make appointments to these roles.



That Ian Wake be appointed Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer.


Interim Appointment - Director of Legal and Governance (Monitoring Officer) pdf icon PDF 79 KB

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Councillor M Coxshall presented the report by stating that in accordance with the relevant legislation and constitutional requirements the report sought Council’s approval to appoint to the Interim Director of Legal and Governance (Monitoring Officer) role. Councillor M Coxshall thanked John Jones for his contribution whilst at Thurrock. Councillor J Kent echoed this comment and welcomed Asmat Hussain to her new role.




Approved in accordance with the Council’s Constitution the appointment of Asmat Hussain as Interim Director of Legal and Governance (Monitoring Officer).


Independent Remuneration Panel pdf icon PDF 101 KB

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Councillor M Coxshall stated the report had set out the new arrangements for the Independent Remuneration Panel including the appointment of a new panel member set-up with the first meeting taking place in July. Councillor M Coxshall recommended to Council that recommendation 1.3 be approved.


Councillor J Kent stated he had been offended in that the remuneration of councillors was being undertaken given the financial backdrop of the authority and therefore would not be supporting the recommendations.


Councillor M Coxshall stated that once the panel had met, their views could then be presented back to Council for members to decide but at this point the legal obligations would have been met.


A vote was undertaken, with 24 votes in favour and 16 against recommendation 1.3 was carried.



Council agreed to a fee for panel members that this fee be £250 per day of attendance per panel member.



Annual Pay Policy Statement 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 189 KB

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Councillor Snell presented the report which sought the approval of the Council’s Annual Pay Policy Statement, this Statement included a pay policy for all categories of employees which reflected existing employment terms and conditions.


Councillor J Kent stated with the caveat there would be a report when the senior manager pay had been determined, he would be happy to support the recommendation.


Councillor Spillman stated his support for a pay increase for staff working on lower bands, emphasised to members of the public that councillors would not see any increase in their allowances for some time. Councillor Spillman was also not of the opinion that senior staff should get an increase considering the position of the Council had been placed in.


Councillor Byrne stated his support to the recommendation.




The Annual Pay Policy Statement 2023/24 was endorsed in line with the Council’s obligations under the Localism Act 2011.


Capital Strategy 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 242 KB

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Councillor Snell referred to the report in the agenda and requested this went straight to the vote.


Councillor J Kent stated this item would be the one that would prove to have been at the centre of Thurrock’s difficulties, he continued to state the care that had been taken to put this together this year with scrutiny, external experts and the validation undertaken had been exemplary. Councillor J Kent stated he had more confidence in supporting this, this year, than he had in many previous years.


Councillor M Coxshall stated it had been a hard few months but had enjoyed going through this and other items with the opposition, this was the way forward in making sure of openness as the Council moved forward, with some hard decisions to be made in the capital programme to enable these to be delivered.




That Full Council:


1.             Approved the Treasury Management Strategy for 2023/24 including approval of the Annual Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) statement for 2023/24.


2.             Considered the current assumptions (set out on page 3 of the strategy) underpinning the Treasury Management Strategy and note that this will be subject to further updates in 2023/24.


3.             Considered the strategy in the context of the directions issued by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities and specifically the need for a strict debt reduction plan.


4.             Noted the increase in the Council’s Capital Financing Requirement (CFR) in 2022/23 as a result of the expected support from DLUHC in the form of a capitalisation direction, as set out in section 3.16.


5.             Noted the divestment of investments and the sale of property assets are required to repay the Exceptional Financial Support from DLUHC and this is a key assumption supporting the strategy.


6.             Noted the Council’s borrowing level will exceed the CFR in 2022/23 but is planned to be managed within this from 23/24 and onwards, as set out in section 3.17.


7.             Noted the Prudential indicators included within the strategy that show commercial capital investments are generating net losses to the Council in the context of the revised MRP charges and current and projected interest rates, as set out in section 3.6.


8.             Noted that the borrowing strategy supporting the commercial investment portfolio will be reset alongside wider revisions to the strategy in 2023/24.


General Fund Budget Proposals pdf icon PDF 852 KB

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The Mayor invited the Leader of the Council, Councillor M Coxshall, to introduce the budget and advised he had 20 minutes to do so. The Mayor agreed that Councillor Snell, Portfolio Holder for Finance, could speak as part of the Leader’s 20-minute allocation.


Councillor M Coxshall


Tonight, is the most important decision we will ever make in this chamber as elected councillors. Let me be even clearer on this decision for you not to vote for the budget before us tonight means then there is no future for Thurrock as a standalone council. That’s what you see in the letter. Now some may want that, and some may say we should not survive but I and the Conservatives this side love the borough and believe there is a future for Conservatives here. This budget gives us a chance. This is about a new start. This is about correcting errors from the last 25 years, not the last six and setting us on a path for the next 25. This budget was always inevitable but a budget that Thurrock needs. The budget moves us towards to being a council with still a below average council tax, but much improving. While still adding funds to the budget that we need to deliver those people’s services. Thurrock has always been, had, a tax that is too low to pay for the services we need to deliver for local people. Some of that is about the fact that our average home is a band c and not an average band d that the rest of the country works on. Some of that was about successive administrations unwilling to increase council tax, some of that was about the government incentive for us not to increase Council Tax.

But that is the past. Our decision tonight is a simple one, do we make a modest increase and keep the cheapest council tax in Essex and nearly second in the nation and definitely the second in a unitary authority after the budget increase, or do we repeat the mistakes and have to have another £8.5m worth of service cuts on top of what you see in front of you. Now, I understand Labour have pledged to fight the council tax. So, what are they going to do, repeat the same mistakes of the past 25 years. Keep us a council tax too low to maintain services, have a fire sale and extra cuts. In the past this has led us to the ill thought our investment strategy to just keep the lights on here. We can’t do that again and I realise that and that’s why we have got to make tough decisions and I said that when I became leader here and this is one of them. I am on the side of making tough decisions to fix this. If that means the issue, and its hard choices, this means we will grow the tax base and therefore make our public services that we want to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 125.


Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 72 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 two questions to the Leader had been received and ten questions to cabinet members.


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


Questions 8, 9 and 10 were not heard due to timing of this item.


Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies

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No reports were presented.


Minutes of Committees

Name of Committee


Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

17 November 2022

Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education

8 June 2022

Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education

2 November 2022

Cleaner Greener Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee

8 November 2022

Planning Transport Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee

23 November 2022

Planning Transport Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee

6 December 2022

Licensing Committee

28 July 2022

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

29 November 2022

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

8 December 2022

General Services Committee

16 January 2023

Planning Committee

1 December 2022

Planning Committee

5 January 2023





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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 62 KB

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


Motion submitted by Councillor J Kent pdf icon PDF 51 KB

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The Motion, as printed in the agenda was proposed by Councillor J Kent and seconded by Councillor Worrall. The Motion read as follows:


Council calls on cabinet to retain the Thameside Complex as a hub for arts, culture, and heritage for the community of Thurrock to own.


Councillor J Kent presented the motion by stating that Thameside had opened its doors in 1971, was a professional theatre and was a great opportunity for those performing in there. Alongside the museum gallery there were thousands of artifacts that were not on display but stored within the complex. The library was the borough’s central library with a purpose-built children’s library and moving that into another building filled him with dread. Councillor J Kent welcomed the comments made by Councillor M Coxshall in that he was passionate about Thameside and would not want Thameside lost to the borough of Thurrock and saw this as a sign that there was a future for Thameside.


Councillor Pothecary acknowledged the number of Thurrock residents outside the building this evening saying they want the Thameside complex to be retained and saved for the community. The residents of Thurrock deserved a theatre, museum, art space and a central library. That closing the Thameside would send the message that the cultural learning heritage and arts were not for the likes of Thurrock residents. The Thameside complex was for the community, should be given to the community and that each member had a choice.


Councillor Kerin stated residents wanted a purposeful theatre for Thurrock and had concerns that once the theatre had gone, it would be gone for ever. He referred to the purpose-built children’s library and questioned whether following all the budget cuts a new dedicated library would be built if it were to close. The library was equal to all and requested that when cabinet make any decision on Thameside they make that decision for future generations and libraries were a key part of the rise of new generations.


Councillor M Coxshall recognised the passion and stated outcomes for the community were better services, fewer buildings and gave a guarantee there was a need for a cultural hub with a central library and a good museum. There were monies in the capital programme for a library and a new museum and needed to look how this could be achieved through the process alongside the live, work and play agenda of the Local Plan. To use this as the opportunity to understand the best place, what it should look like and what could be undertaken to deliver the cultural offering in the centre of Grays with a good leisure facility. Councillor M Coxshall stated he could not support this motion this evening but promised Cabinet would move forward on this and deliver.


Councillor Redsell stated the current Thameside complex was not fit for purpose and residents of Thurrock needed a better building with better facilities and would not be supported the motion this evening.


Councillor Abbas stated Thameside complex  ...  view the full minutes text for item 130.