The Leader announced that Thurrock Council had been successful in their application to the High Court for an interim encampment injunction to prevent anyone from establishing unauthorised encampment in Thurrock without full permission and would be enforceable on public and private land. An illegal encampment would result in immediate arrest and would enable the Council to move encampments on within a few hours as well as giving the police more powers in enforcing this.
The injunction would also act as a greater deterrent to illegal encampments. It was the second stage of a three stage process and this injunction would be in place for a few months as the Council prepared for a final injunction.
The Leader moved on to state that Grays and Tilbury had been selected in the first stages of two exciting government schemes which would help to bring in millions in funding to improve and regenerate the two towns. Grays had been named as one of the additional 50 towns successful in the first round of bidding for the government’s Future High Street Fund. This meant that funding would be received to develop a detailed business plan for the Council to bid for a share of the £1 billion government funding which could be used to revitalise Grays High Street through a new infrastructure that would attract new businesses, shoppers and homes.
Tilbury and Grays had also been selected by the government to receive their share of a new £3.6 billion funding pot to help improve infrastructure, drive economic growth and increase job opportunities. Both towns would be one of the 100 towns to benefit from the New Towns Fund and could potentially acquire up to £25 million each to transform the towns through improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.
The funding for Tilbury and Grays was in addition to the current Council plans for Grays Town Centre which included the Grays Town Centre Regeneration and the Grays Underpass Scheme. In addition, there was already private investment to transform the State Cinema site and plans to create a revitalised shopping centre which owners, New River, say could include a gym, a hotel and food retail.
Moving on to Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB), the Leader said that the Council had been successful in continuously targeting ASB acts with a campaign to crack down on the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) canisters and in securing a criminal behaviour order against a nuisance neighbour.
Back in August 2019, the Council had launched a joint campaign between Essex Police and Environmental Enforcement Officers to tackle ASB and nitrous oxide canisters in Thurrock’s car parks. The first few weeks of this campaign saw:
• 19 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued for littering, fly-posting and ASB;
• 22 community protection warnings for ASB involvement in Grays, Chafford Hundred and Tilbury;
• 8 community protection warnings for cannabis possession; and
• 3 community protection warnings for HGV parking in Manor Way.
There had also been success in securing a 10 year Criminal Behaviour Order against a nuisance dog owner along with £12,000 worth of fines due to the perpetrator’s failure to comply with a noise abatement notice. This would also prevent the perpetrator from owning animals for 10 years and shows that people need to have consideration for their neighbours regarding noise nuisances. The Council will continue to take whatever action necessary to protect residents from all forms of nuisance and ASB.
The Leader gave praise to the Council’s Principal Social Worker, Fran Leddra, had been appointed to the position of Chief Social Worker for England in a joint role with Mark Harvey of Hertfordshire County Council. He praised Fran Leddra’s talent, expertise and experience as well as the high esteem of the services held in Thurrock.
The Leader announced that the Council had been shortlisted for three categories in the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards:
• Best Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship Initiative for the Council’s financial and commercial success;
• Best Efficiency and Transformation Initiative for customer service; and
• Best Community and Neighbourhood Initiative for the Council’s Give A Gift.
The APSE awards were due to take place on 12 September 2019 and the Leader wished the teams good luck.
Regarding Clean It, Cut It, Fill It, the Leader gave the following updates:
• 965 potholes filled within agreed timelines;
• 647 fly-tips cleared;
• 1,245 tonnes of waste collected by street cleaning and grounds maintenance teams combined; and
• 1,820 FPNs issued for littering, dropping cigarette butts and ASB.