The Mayor stated she had a most enjoyable first month as Mayor with three visits to local schools, attended an afternoon tea with carers and raised the flag for Armed Forces Day and the Progress flag for Pride Day. The Mayor had also attended a Windrush Event at the Port of Tilbury where there had been an art exhibition remembering the people stepping off the boat at Tilbury.
Councillor Gledhill, Leader of the Council, made the following announcements:
COVID Update – Thurrock had continued to see an increase in the number of residents testing positive for COVID-19. These numbers were thankfully small but this was a worrying development nevertheless and were monitoring these developments closely but had shown just how important it was that everyone took up the offer of a vaccine. This offer had now been extended to all adults over the age of 18 and it had been great to see over 95,000 people had received their first dose and an incredible 68,473 residents had both doses. Even though vaccine take-up had been strong the Council wanted to make sure that everyone took up this opportunity to get the protection a vaccine offered not only for them but for their loved ones and the wider community. Last week a walk-in vaccine centre had been set up in North Stifford and this weekend there would be one in Thurrock Medical Centre in the Grays town centre between 8am and 8pm on Saturday for first and second doses for anyone aged 18 where no appointments were required. As of last Wednesday, 23 June:
· 4,437 test had been taken in the previous 7 days
· Thurrock 7 day infection rate was 41.3 per 100,000
· Which meant Thurrock sat at 130 out of 149 upper tier local authorities where 1 was the highest rate of infection and 149 being the lowest.
Investment in Grays – The Leader had attended the socially distanced gala opening of a new roof-terrace restaurant at Feast. It was a great event and it was fantastic to see that private investment was coming to Grays. This had come at the same time that Thurrock had received a £540,000 cash boost to make Grays High Street safer. Councillor Gledhill thanked the Home Office for providing this funding and the Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for supporting this bid. This additional cash would be used to improve the CCTV and street lighting in the town centre to hopefully reduce crime.
We were also expecting to hear the announcement of how much funding Grays had secured through the New Towns Fund any day now. This would bring up to £25 million in additional funding for the continuing redevelopment of Grays all managed by the Towns Fund Board which saw local businesses and organisations having a voice in the future of Grays. Councillor Gledhill stated that the Council were also expecting to hear the announcement of how much funding Grays had secured through the New Towns Fund. This would bring up to £25 million of additional funding for the continuing redevelopment of Grays all managed by the Towns Fund Board which so far had done a fantastic job with their upfront money. A separate board through Tilbury had done exactly the same and it was really good to see the Government investing and indeed the community and local businesses investing their time to make sure those two towns were improved.
We will also be submitting proposals to Cabinet next week to ensure the development of the underpass under the railway, this was one of two priority capital projects, the other being Stanford-le-Hope station finally being finished. With on-going plans on the planning application for the State Cinema we can really see this being moved forward and really would like to hope that all residents got behind this and really played their part.
Enforcement work - Our officers used their powers to seize a van being used as a series of fly tips in Tilbury, it had been fortunate someone had pointed this out on social media and the vehicle was seized and crushed with the owner being charged £200. Had more residents come forward with more information we may have been able to secure a much stronger conviction and encouraged residents to continue to report issues. The Essex Police 101 service had been improved by adding a live chat which can be anonymous and this information can go towards forming a much greater picture of what was going on.
The Leader had met with the new borough commander last week who was a very pro-active former police officer who knew Thurrock and the residents of Thurrock well. Discussions had taken place on the problem of nuisance quad bikes and there were some exciting ideas to try and bring this nuisance to a head but still encouraged residents to report issues.
Councillor J Kent remembered former Councillor Peter Harris who had sadly passed a few weeks ago. Peter Harris had been a hard working Councillor for the West Thurrock and Grays Thurrock wards for nine years and condolences were passed onto his family.
Councillor J Kent also remembered former officer, Carmel Littleton, who had sadly passed and gave tribute to the hard work and her commitment to Thurrock.
Councillor Coxshall echoed Councillor J Kent’s comments and how Carmel Littleton had transformed the education department of the Council.
Councillor Gledhill also paid tribute to Carmel Littleton and commented how approachable she was and had gone over and beyond in her role.
Councillor Gledhill also paid tribute to Peter Harris who had been a true gentlemen and would be truly missed.
Councillor Okunade paid tribute to Carmel Littleton by stating it had been a privilege to work with her who had always been so professional and supportive and offered comfort to her family at this very sad time.