Agenda item

Statements by the Leader


The Leader began his statement by outlining the local rates of COVID-19. He explained that Thurrock’s COVID rate had been decreasing steadily, with a large drop being seeing during the previous week, which could partly be explained by the beginning of half term in schools. He urged residents to take up the vaccine when offered and thanked residents for taking the necessary precautions, as well as protecting and supporting their local communities. He stated that Thurrock’s current COVID rate was 278 per 100,000, which had dropped from 359 per 100,000 the previous week. He explained that this meant Thurrock was 124th out of 144 upper tier local authorities.

The Leader continued and explained that Thurrock’s Freeport had been agreed and included within the budget statement. He stated that operations on the Freeport would begin later this month, and the Right Honourable Ruth Kelly had been chosen as Chair. He commented that the Freeport would bring £4.5billion in investment as well as over 20,000 jobs, and health and cultural benefits for local residents. The Leader then explained that anti-social behaviour was still being seen in local high streets across the borough, but the Council would be working closely with the police to tackle this issue. He urged residents to report anti-social behaviour through either 999 if urgent, or 101 by phone or online if non-urgent.

Councillor Redsell arrived 7.05pm

The Leader stated that a new Shop Safe scheme had recently been introduced which linked local shop owners together, as well as with the police in real time. He commented that the vast majority of shops had registered with the scheme and was beginning to be regularly used. He added that the police met with shop owners every third Friday of the month to discuss local problems. The Leader moved on and stated that tomorrow was Remembrance Day, and a number of events would be held across Thurrock to remember the fallen, including an event on Sunday at Grays Memorial. He thanked Reverend Cannon Darren Barlow for his support and dedication in planning Remembrance Day events, and stated that Reverend Cannon Darren Barlow was still seeking volunteers to help at the Remembrance event on Sunday.

The Leader moved on and stated that he had recently taken a tour of the new Civic Offices building, and felt that lots of thought had gone into the building and the design, and provided good views over the area. He explained that the ground floor contained a specialist reception area for those homeless residents, as well as other dedicated work spaces. He explained that the ground floor also contained a large, open plan registrar’s area to allow weddings to take place, and this would be connected via video link to allow family and friends of the bride and groom that could not attend in person to still take part and view the celebration. He stated that the new building was almost completed and the inaugural meeting would be January’s Full Council meeting.

Councillor Coxshall added that the registrar area was the first purpose built registrars area since Thurrock had become a unitary authority, and would provide a full service including weddings. He added that the design had been thought out, for example there was a separate, private entrance for the bride and could be laid out for small or large weddings.