The Leader of the Council opened by stating that many would have seen that Essex County Council had made an application to the Government to voluntarily increase its Covid alert level to High and be subject to tier 2 Covid restrictions. This would mean that residents would not be able to meet anyone outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting such as their home, pub or restaurant.
He continued by commenting he was sure everyone would recognise the impact this would have on certain businesses, especially the hospitality and entertainment venues and in addition would mean families across Essex would not be able to meet unless they are in that same bubble and restrict travel. The Leader highlighted it was already clear to see the impact this could have on those who already felt isolated and alone as well as the impact it may have on some residents mental wellbeing.
Councillor Gledhill, informed Cabinet Members that he had spoken to the secretary of State for Health at the weekend outlining why he felt Thurrock should not be subject to these extra restrictions requested by Essex County Council and he would continue to resist any call for voluntary increase in restriction to Thurrock Residents. Members heard how Thurrock’s MP Jackie Doyle Price also made clear at parliament that Thurrock should not be included in the County Council’s call for more restriction, for which the Leader said he was truly grateful. He also thanked the Chief Executive and the Director of Public Health for their hard work including over the weekend in supporting the position that Thurrock should not be included in the Tier 2 restrictions.
The Leader moved onto Remembrance Day and commented that unfortunately this year Remembrance Day parades would not take place as usual. With the need for continued social distancing, avoiding crowds and maximum numbers of people in groups; the Council were exploring different options to commemorate Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day as was done earlier in the year with VE Day.
He mentioned that private services and virtual tributes would replace traditional parades to commemorate and remember British and Commonwealth military and civilian men and women who paid the ultimate price in the two World Wars and later conflicts. A special red, white and blue light display would be put on the outside the Thameside Complex, Grays, to mark the occasion.
The Leader commented on the importance of wearing face coverings when in enclosed public spaces. It was also important to show respect for one another and the local environment and to remember some people were exempt from wearing face coverings, such as anyone with a physical illness, disability or mental health issue.
Councillor Gledhill moved on and stated last week a drug driver was convicted, fined and banned from driving for two years thanks to a joint initiative carried out between Thurrock Council enforcement officers and Essex Police. Members heard how he was just one of the people caught as a result of the joint initiative which took place between August and December last year to target people who litter the borough’s car parks with nitrous oxide canisters.
The operation also resulted in 11 Fixed Penalty Notices issued for fly-tipping, 15 Fixed Penalty notices for anti-social behaviour including littering, urination and fly-posting, one man arrested for drug driving and possession,10 Community resolutions for cannabis possession and 30 Community Protection Warnings given for anti-social behaviour.
The Leader stated Thurrock Council would continue to work closely with Essex Police and would continue to get these kinds of results to make our borough a safer place for the residents who live here.
The Leader finished his statement by giving the Clean It, Cut It, Fill It Update since April 2020, and stated 1,776 potholes had been filled with every single one of them completed within agree timescales, 1,700 tonnes of litter had been cleaned from Thurrock streets, 776 fly-tips had been cleared and 1,935 Fixed penalty notices for anti-social behaviour like spitting, littering and dropping cigarette ends had been issued.
Councillor Coxshall offered his thanks to Officers, the Chief Executive and the Director of Public Health for all their hard work in helping to keep Thurrock excluded from Essex County Councils voluntary request for further restrictions.