Agenda and minutes

Extraordinary, Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, CO3, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL.

Contact: Lucy Tricker, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:


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.

Additional documents:


There were no items of urgent business.


Declaration of Interests

Additional documents:


There were no interests declared.


Thames Freeport pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director of Economic Growth and Partnerships introduced the report and stated that he believed the Thames Freeport was a significant economic opportunity for Thurrock over the next few years. He explained that it would be private sector led by Forth Ports, DP World and Ford, but would include three local authorities: Thurrock; the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD); and the London Borough of Havering (LBH). He stated that the Freeport Business Case (FBC) outlined the proposed governance for the Thames Freeport, and framed by government guidance, there would be a Governance Board formally established with Ruth Kelly as the Chairperson, and 12 Board members, including local authorities and key stakeholders. He stated that the first meeting of the Governance Board would be in early 2023, dependent on Cabinet approval and approval of the FBC by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DHLUC). The Assistant Director of Economic Growth and Partnerships explained that the Board would be accountable to government through a Memorandum of Understanding, and would be responsible for the delivery of Freeport objectives such as creating a global hub for trade, a centre for innovation, and enabling levelling up and regeneration. He commented that the report asked the Committee to note the potential economic benefits, endorse the approach supporting Thames Freeport, and provide comments on the governance structure before the report was submitted to Cabinet on 7 December. The Assistant Director of Economic Growth and Partnerships clarified the process that had been undertaken on Thames Freeport, explaining that a business case had been submitted to DHLUC on 14 April 2022, and was currently going through the quality assurance process, which included critical action responses from Thames Freeport to DHLUC. He expected formal approval of the FBC early in the New Year.

The Chair thanked the officer for the report and highlighted point 4.6. He queried which MPs would be the observers of the Freeport. The Assistant Director of Economic Growth and Partnerships explained that all MPs across the Freeport Outer Boundary covering Thurrock, LBBD and LBH would be invited to attend meetings. 

Councillor Kent arrived at 7.09pm.

Councillor Carter felt that the Freeport would be a good opportunity for Thurrock, and highlighted that 68% of investment would be within the borough. He asked if this percentage was an estimate or contained investments that had been agreed upon. The Assistant Director of Economic Growth and Partnerships explained that some investments had already been agreed and secured, including seven new private sector investments at London Gateway, funding for seed capital projects, as well as direct port investments. He stated that other longer-term planned investments had been estimated using asset sites, types of development and potential jobs over the next ten years.

Councillor Kent highlighted section 2.4 and asked if the borrowing against future business rates was no longer going to happen. The Assistant Director of Economic Growth and Partnerships confirmed that it would not, but clarified that retained business rates would still be available to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.