Agenda item

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


The Mayor announced he had held a fund raising event at Amazon for his charity, Giving for Thurrock (GiFT), where mayors from as far as Folkestone had attended.


The Mayor thanked all Members for their contributions this year, thanked those Members who would be retiring at the upcoming elections and sent good luck wishes to those Members up for re-election.


The Leader also thanked those Members who would be retiring at the upcoming elections.


The Leader stated the Council’s working relationship with Essex Police had some excellent results taking drug dealers off the streets of Thurrock and securing convictions. Another eight criminals had been arrested and either pleaded guilty or been found guilty thanks to the excellent work carried out by Essex Police Operation Raptor Team. During Op Raptor Essex Police had arrested 42 people, they had seen a 12% decrease in reports of Anti-Social Behaviour in Grays and Lakeside areas and in the last year alone had managed to secure a total of 42 years jail time for 16 C17 members. With Thurrock Council playing a significant role in providing funding and supporting the work being carried out by the team and would continue to work closely with Essex Police to see excellent results taking criminals off our streets.


The Leader referred to two consultations taking place in Grays. Plans for the regeneration of Grays Town Centre, which the Council wanted to get residents feedback on. Grays was set to be transformed with redevelopment stretching from the banks of the Thames to the very heart of the town. With £200m investment already secured including an underpass at Grays Station, which had received £11m funding from the Government through the Local Growth Fund. A further £49m had been bid for via the Future High Street Fund and the Towns Fund for Grays.


The other consultation was the Grays Public Space Protection Order and again would like to hear views from local residents and businesses who want to live and work without being affected by those intent on street drinking. The Leader reminded Members that both of these consultations can be completed through the Council website ‘Have my Say’ pages.


The Leader stated Highways England had launched a new round of consultation on their proposals to build the Lower Thames Crossing in Thurrock. Their first consultation had received more than 28,000 responses and had been instrumental in them making some significant changes to the proposals including scrapping plans for a rest, service and maintenance area. This new consultation was another opportunity to make sure residents of the borough had their voice heard and had another opportunity to make Highways England reconsider their proposals. The Council would continue to challenge Highways England and provide constructive feedback and objection to their proposals. The Leader reminded Members the consultation was available online until 25 March 2020.


The Leader was delighted to say in commemoration of VE Day the Council had planned to install a memorial in Grays Town Park, this would include renewing the ringed garden area paths, a new low level wall in the same style as the memorial in Grays Town Centre to give a commonality of look and feel, linking the two memorials.  There would be a centre monolith, with new planting that would dramatically improve the look of this area. Work would commence in early March to give the maximum amount of time for any planting to establish prior to May Bank Holiday with a joint celebration with the Royal British Legion.


The Leader stated the Council had been working with the Police over the noticeable increase of tagging and graffiti across the borough and was pleased to announce on the 30 September 2019 a Grays resident had been cautioned and issued a Fixed Penalty Notice in relation to graffiti on Anchor House, Grays. On 25 October 2019 a Grays resident had been charged after partnership working with Essex Police in relation to a series of graffiti offences and this matter awaits court appearance with compensation costs having been requested by the Council with another piece of partnership working another significant Tag offender in Thurrock had been identified and this was subject to an ongoing investigation in partnership with Essex Police. The Leader stated the amount of criminal damage one person could cause in a night was significant and not only unsightly it meant residents and businesses had to go to the expense of clearing it up. If this happened on a Council building or property it would be the taxpayer who footed the bill for its removal therefore this was not a victimless crime it was a crime all ended up paying for.


The Leader provided a Clean It, Cut It, Fill It update since April 2019:


           2,241 potholes filled, more than 99% within agreed timeframes

           1,017 fly-tips cleared

           3,383 tonnes of waste cleared from our streets

           3,737 fixed penalties have been issued for offences such as littering, dropping cigarette butts and various forms of anti-social behaviour

           227 £400 fly-tipping fines issued

           268 people prosecuted at court for not paying their on the spot fines

           3 traveller encampments moved under our new interim injunction powers granted last September