THURROCK MP, Jackie Doyle-Price has been slammed after she questioned the managerial ability of the top bosses at Thurrock Council.
Speaking to the Thurrock Gazette on the subject of whether there should be a larger South Essex authority, Doyle-Price said: “It is abundantly clear that Thurrock lacks the managerial leadership to deliver big or transformational projects.
The comments have not gone down well with opposition leaders. The leader of the UKIP group, cllr Graham Snell said: “She is talking complete nonsense. Thurrock has, in recent years, seen several large projects come to fruition and there are more in the pipeline.
“I would say our ambitions for Thurrock are hampered much more by Government than by any lack of talent and drive by local management”.
Thurrock Labour has also weighed in on the spat. Leader of Thurrock Labour, councillor Oliver Gerrish, said: “This is a remarkable admission by local Tories that they are not able to deliver the leadership within the authority that is required.
“Thurrock Tories have been in control of the council for some time now – and they have already delivered a sad list of achievements: Recycling targets missed, street cleanliness targets missed, pothole targets missed.
“Perhaps for the first time ever, we partly agree with Jackie Doyle-Price. New political leadership is needed at the council to pull it out of this mess. We need to be investing in a fairer, cleaner, safer Thurrock fit for the future, not the shambles that the Tory administration is currently presiding over.
“Tory councillors now have some big questions to answer. Do they agree with their MP? What have they done to strengthen leadership at the council? If the situation is as bad as Jackie Doyle-Price thinks, what are they going to do to get it back under control?”
A major upcoming test of the council’s ability to deliver on big, transformational projects will be the Purfleet regeneration scheme. It is due to seek planning permissions by later this year. There is speculation that the Tory administration could face a vote of no confidence if the project fails to advance.
The comments appear to have put the Conservative leader of Thurrock Council, cllr Rob Geldhill in an embarrassing position.
YT asked him: “To what extent does the leader of Thurrock Council believe that Thurrock Council possesses the managerial leadership to deliver the regeneration agenda?
Cllr Gledhill responded: “Thurrock is a place of real economic opportunity and the Council is pleased that is being recognised by some international big name brands who are choosing to call Thurrock home.
“I would consider Thurrock to be a national leader in terms of growth and ambition and we are all excited about prospective opportunities this will continue to bring as we further consider the developments across our growth areas.
We weren’t sure if he had answered the question and so we asked the chief executive of Thurrock Council. Lyn Carpenter and cllr Gledhill the question again. A Thurrock Council spokesperson said they had nothing to add.