Nominations were invited for the election of Leader of the Council.
It was proposed by Councillor Hebb, and seconded by Councillor Coxshall, that Councillor Gledhill be elected as Leader of the Council. Councillor Gledhill was elected unopposed as Leader of the Council, whereupon the Mayor announced that Councillor Gledhill had been duly elected as Leader of the Council.
The Mayor then invited Councillor Gledhill to make any announcements he wished to make as Leader of the Council.
Councillor Gledhill made the following announcements:
· Congratulated Councillor Shinnick becoming the new Mayor and agreed with Councillor J Kent that a more fitting ceremony should be held for the outgoing mayor and incoming Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
· That it was good to see some new and some existing Members this evening and congratulated those Members who had won their seats in the local elections.
· Thanked all Members for re-electing him as Leader for the next four years.
· COVID-19 Update – The local picture was extremely positive that in the last seven days just 15 people in the borough had tested positive for COVID-19 meaning out of the 149 top tier local authorities, Thurrock were ranked 122. There had been nearly 122,000 doses of the vaccine administered in Thurrock with 82,000 people having at least one dose and over 39,000 who had two. There had been no reported cases of the Indian variant in Thurrock but were prepared with precautions in place should it happen. It was good that Members were meeting for the first time face-to-face, although at a distance, it was hoped by the next meeting we would all be back in the chamber.
· Enforcement Action – Thurrock had achieved a UK first by making sure tenants of unsafe houses of multiple occupancy were moved out of dangerous properties. The actions taken meant residents living in buildings who were being treated unfairly after being enticed by cheap rent in exchange for poor but also dangerous living conditions were better protected. The Council’s swift action meant those tenants were moved out of these dangerous properties and were now working with them to assist in finding new homes. The innovative High Court decision could lead the way for other authorities who may find themselves in the similar situation to use our judgement in case law.
· Regeneration – Planning permission submitted to convert the State Cinema into a Weatherspoon Pub which would create a new hospitability venue in the heart of Grays. Work on the Civic Offices was progressing well which would also create a significant landmark in Grays town centre and provide space for over 100 new homes. The Manorway in Stanford le Hope would see the start of work to provide a better and quieter road surface for HGVs and other traffic used to get to and from DP World and would come as a relief to those families who lived right on or near the road. The Thames Enterprise Park would be an extremely exciting project that would create around 5,500 new local skilled jobs and would add over £340 million to the local economy with full planning submission being submitted later this year.
· The Thames Estuary Park, Thames Freeport bid, Grays Regeneration, Grays and Tilbury Town Funds and Purfleet-on-Thames Regeneration would create a wealth of fantastic opportunities created for residents and businesses across Thurrock in the coming months and years.
That Councillor Gledhill be duly elected as Leader of the Council for a four-year term of office