Friday, September 22, 2023

Police “Corruption Probe” at Thurrock Council

What would be so serious that the then Leader of Thurrock Council Terry Hipsey and the then Interim Chief Executive Mike Rowan would, last November, go to Grays Police Station to attend a pre-arranged interview with the Brentwood-based Economic Crimes Unit?

What was it that apparently made an eminent Barrister such as Mr Rowan counsel Mr Hipsey that disclosing his suspicions to the police would be a good career move?

For us the story (on this occasion) goes back to the council and cabinet meetings of late 2008 when it seemed that Council Leader Terry Hipsey was determined to humiliate Chief Executive Angie Ridgewell and Portfolio Holder of Children, Education and Families, Robert McCulloch-Graham.

With Ms Ridgewell the issue was the late statement of accounts. For Mr McCulloch-Graham it was his attempt to get “retrospective planning approval” for three Thurrock schools: West Thurrock Primary, Tudor Court Primary and Ockendon Primary.

On both occasions, Cllr Hipsey was seen by many as a vindictive bully. At the time, YourThurrock posed the question as to whether he was either Joseph Stalin, Julius Caesar or Jimmy Stewart.

Or was it that the long history surrounding planning applications and the specific events surrounding the tendering and contracts of West Thurrock primary, Tudor Court primary and Ockendon School that were the tipping point for Cllr Hipsey.

Cllr Hipsey had had a heart scare earlier that year. Mike Rowan was also not in the best of health. Was the task in front of them too huge?
A task that could have broken their health entirely?

We spoke to Cllr Hipsey and asked him to recall his motivation behind the events.


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