Agenda and minutes

Lower Thames Crossing Task Force - Monday, 19th June, 2023 6.00 pm

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

Contact: Kenna-Victoria Healey, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:


No. Item


Nomination of Chair

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Councillor Fraser Massey was elected as Chair of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force for the 2023/24 municipal year.



Nomination of Vice Chair

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Councillor Sara Muldowney was elected as Vice Chair of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force for the 2023/24 municipal year.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Lower Thames Crossing Task Force meeting held on 20 March 2023.

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The minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2023 were discussed and comments were noted.


On page 6 clarification was requested on the statement about the LTC Accounting Officer Assessment document and the reference to an Individual Assessment review. The Thames Crossing Action Group Representative clarified the minute and also provided the following update as of the June meeting. TCAG had entered a FOI to the Infrastructure and Projects Authority in respect of Independent Reviews which had been carried out and mentioned in the LTC Accounting Officer Assessment.  TCAG requested copies of those independent reviews from the IPA which falls under the remit of the Cabinet Office and Treasury. The Cabinet Office refused the request and Leigh Day were instructed to request an internal review.  Subsequently, the Cabinet Office were in breach of legislation because they did not respond by the statutory deadline.  Leigh Day have been further instructed to put a complaint into the Information Commissioners office and TCAG are awaiting further information to see what happens next.


The Director of Place requested the Minute be amended to reflect that the FOI had been refused by the Cabinet Office.


Following the changes and clarification as discussed, the Chair requested that the minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2023 be approved as a true and correct record subject to the amendments previously circulated by Thames Crossing Action Group Representative and as stated in discussion by the Director of Place.



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.

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There were no urgent items of business.


Declaration of Interests

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No declarations of interest were made.


Verbal update on Development Control Order (DCO) Pre Examination Process and next steps

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The Director of Place updated the LTC Task Force and stated that Chris Stratford a member of the external team who has been advising the Task Force is now part of the team and making submissions to the examination process.

The Officer explained that members were receiving a verbal update as this is now a very fast-moving stage.  The Development Control Order (DCO) was accepted by the Planning Inspectorate in late-November 2022 and the timetable for the Examination phase was set out in a Rule 6 letter from the Examining Authority. We are currently in the Pre-Examination phase for the rest of today and the Examination stage from tomorrow.  All correspondence received or submitted is available on the (Planning Inspectorate) PINS website and members were recommended to point interested parties to the website for the most up to date position.

The Task Force last received an update in March 2023 before the pre-election period when the council was in the process of re-engaging the team of external consultants having been on a brief pause whilst the impact of the S114 notice was examined. The council has been challenging National Highways and the LTC team and some of the costs in doing that had been covered by the previous Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) between the council and National Highways.  The existing PPA came to an end with the acceptance of the DCO by the Planning Inspectorate and it has been necessary to negotiate a new one.  Officers have negotiated better terms for Thurrock residents and the terms of the PPA is better than any other authority involved in the process.  There is still a cost to the council in representing itself through the Examination stage of the process as National Highways do not pay legal costs and representation at Hearings.

Officers submitted a request to delay the process by approximately 7 weeks and the submission was accepted for consideration on 21 March and the subject of discussion at a subsequent Programming Meeting on 16 May and at a Preliminary Meeting on 6 June.

Whilst awaiting a decision on the Examination timetable extension, the team have submitted responses to a number of procedural deadlines.  The responses are available on the PINS website

·       Procedural deadline A – 10 May – met and accepted

·       Procedural deadline B – 31 May, met and accepted

·       Procedural deadline C – submitted two responses

Officers were optimistic that the extension would be granted, however, the procedural decision released on 15 June did not allow additional time and to remain with the original timetable.  The Examination starts officially tomorrow (20 June) and a response will be submitted to a Minor Refinement Consultation (MRC) tonight.

The next steps of the Examination will run for six months from 20 June until 20 December.  The Examining Authority (EA) have committed to the timetable, and it is now a requirement for them to deliver their recommendations, complete the Examination and proceed to deliver within that timescale. It is believed this will be a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.