The Mayor invited all those present to reflect on and remember Thurrock’s fallen of World War One.
The Mayor announced it had been a great pleasure and heartening to see all the World War One commemorations taking place throughout the borough for the 100 year anniversary of the end of the First World War and what a splendid job residents had done. The Mayor thanked Thurrock Council for the large poppies being displayed on lampposts throughout the borough. On the 11 November, Thurrock church bells will ring out in unison with the whole nation in honour of those that lost their lives during the First World War.
The Mayor invited Councillor Redsell to speak. Councillor Redsell stated that on the 8 August 2018 brought together the Standard Bearers in all of the United Kingdom and beyond. This was to celebrate the 90th pilgrimage and also the 100 years war. All the Standard Bearers from Essex were taken by coach to Ypres in Belgium. This was the British Legions largest membership event to take place in modern history. Most of the funds to send the standards were raised by their local club. Each club was asked to raise £1000 for the four day event. I would like to thank at this point in time, Port of Tilbury and Ensign Buses for their support to the Chadwell St Mary branch. Councillor Redsell stated what an experience for the young and old alike with 1113 branches attending and 1160 Standard Bearers on parade. A moving event for everyone remembering those who lost their lives so we could live ours. Also to remember those who returned. As the last post was played, poppies were released from the vault ceiling of the memorial. Surely those who attended will never forget the emotion that they felt at that moment. The memories will stay with them forever.
The Mayor then invited Councillor Gledhill to make any announcements he wished to make as Leader of the Council.
The Leader announced that Highways England was currently running its consultation on the Lower Thames Crossing proposals. The proposed crossing was now a 3 lane motorway which would tear through the borough and had no obvious benefits for local businesses or residents and had failed Highways England’s own scheme objective which was to support sustainable local development and regional economic growth in the medium to long term. Highways England had removed the Tilbury link road, instead, putting a motorway rest area in East Tilbury. That lorries coming in from the north on the Lower Thames Crossing would not be able to travel west on the A13 to get to the Port of Tilbury so they would have to go on to the A13 junction and double back. This was going to do nothing but add more pressure on the Manorway roundabout. The Leader encouraged everyone that lived and worked in the borough to get involved in the consultation by attending one of the public information events and complete and return the consultation form by Thursday 20 December. These can be found online or paper versions can be found in the Grays Library or the Tilbury Hub.
The Leader referenced the east facing slip road on the A13 and that it was great to see the Government had put aside £50 million to make that happen. This would hugely improve the exiting at Lakeside.
The Leader referred to the recent media coverage on whistleblowing allegations and confirmed that the allegations had been made under the whistleblowing policy and procedure with the matter now being independently reviewed in line with process and was being done via a specialist barrister with expertise in children’s social care. The review was still ongoing and the findings would be released once known. In addition, Ofsted, the Government’s responsible agent for child protection issues have been kept informed of the review. The Leader stated that in regards to media reports of hush money being paid to an individual, this had been properly processed and signed off as a compensation payment to a complaint in line with finance procedure rules and agreed by the relevant officers and political leadership at the time. The Leader stated that all whistleblowing allegations would be robustly investigated.
The Leader then referred Members to the C17 gang injunction and dispersal order and asked for all Members to join him in commending the excellent work which had taken place with Essex Police and Thurrock Council in securing the injunction against this criminal gang. The C17 injunction had now stopped a tenth person from going to certain parts of the borough, from associating with certain gang members, from wearing hoodies and from riding bikes in certain areas. This injunction tackled the issue of gang violence. The Leader urged the community to get behind this and report if they see any of the ten gang members breaching the injunction. Essex Police had also secured a dispersal order covering much of Chafford Hundred, Lakeside and parts of West Thurrock and Grays. The order will help them to prevent any Halloween related anti-social behaviour that residents experienced last year in and around the marked areas. The order came into force at 4.00pm on the 31 October and will last until 4.00pm on the 1 November. This would give our local Police Officers the power to remove people that are causing anti-social behaviour in the area.
The Leader mentioned a series of events which would be taking place in the coming weeks for the 100 year anniversary of the end of the First World War and the Council ensured that celebrations took place at every single war memorial this year. 834 poppies, one for each of the brave servicemen who lost their lives in the war will be displayed in Thurrock. All the war memorials had undergone specialist cleaning and maintenance. Special commemorative planters had been installed at war memorials. Silent soldier silhouettes will be on display at war memorials and cemeteries. The Council had also helped the communities help restore the beacons at Coalhouse Fort and Purfleet for the lighting, something that’s a big national event. The Leader was pleased all the effort in preparations made this anniversary an important occasion that everyone would get behind and said a well done to the people of North Stifford for all their hard work in making North Stifford come alive for this event. The Leader stated that the Council will be remembering those that paid the ultimate price for our freedom in wars after the First World War.
The Leader provided a Clean It, Cut It, Fill It update:
• 1784 potholes had been filled in our roads with 99% of those done within target time.
• 798ft of grass had been cut.
• Street Cleaning teams had collected 1641 tonnes of litter.
• 908 fly-tips had been cleared;
• 2127 penalty notices had been issued for offences such as littering, dropping cigarette butts and various anti-social behaviours such as spitting; and
• 52 £400 fixed penalty notices issued for people fly-tipping in the borough.
The Leader spoke of the budget announced this week with an extra £650 million for social care, £45 million for disabled facilities grant and £84 million for children’s services over the next 5 years.
A £28.8 billion national road fund would support roads and infrastructure with local Authorities receiving an extra £420 million to deal with potholes and other traffic maintenance issues. £150 million would be available to tackle traffic hotspots such as making improvement to traffic junctions and £500 million for housing infrastructure funding, something that Thurrock had a history of successfully bidding for.
And finally, the Leader congratulated Councillor Tom Kelly and his wife on the birth of their new baby. Councillor Kelly had sent his apologies and pointed out that this was the first Full Council he had missed in a significant amount of time.