Petitions: Like Mushrooms After The Rain

SAY what you like about last week’s Thurrock Council meeting but it had everything that you could ask for.

The gallery was packed with a variety of onlookers from community groups to representatives of all the political parties.

The Tory council candidates turned up in force as a measure of support and probably as a crash course tutorial in local government. Labour were there with Mike Canavon particularly noticeable as a one man Stadler and Waldorf. The UKIP’s: Well the UKIP’s may well be sent to the political naughty step for their juvenile behaviour (they were funny though).

“Like Mushrooms After The Rain” is a phrase used in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union and the introduction of democracy. The proliferation of parties was described as like “Mushrooms after the rain” as so many parties sprang up after 63 years of communism.

So it seems to be in Thurrock. We may well see record numbers of candidates standing at the local elections on May 6th. Is there anybody not standing in Aveley?

But it was perhaps the first items on the agenda that was the most heartening. The proliferation of petitions presented to council. Sceptics may say that far too many members are now standing up and asking: What has happened to the petition I presented last month? Some are concerned that they disappear into a black hole. Other cynics believe that the only reason so many petitions are presented is that we are just eight weeks away from council elections.

The Petitions

Ngage

Stanford Community Forum Chair, Terry Piccolo presented a petition on behalf of all the community forums asking to restore the core funding for Ngage. The result is now old news but Terry made an impassioned speech with many forceful points as he signposted all the work Ngage had undertaken.

With many other senior community figures (Len Orpin, Mike Stone) in the gallery, Terry pointed to the Local Area Assessment work, the Playbuilders scheme, the Get On To Get On bus and many other ventures which Ngage facilitated. Ngage, he argued, were the glue which brought the Thurrock community together.

Bridge Road Car Parks

Chair of Orchards Community Forum, Mike Stone presented a petition objecting to the possible loss of car parking near the Bridge Road area of Grays. The car parks are under threat due to Project Enterprise, a scheme to erect council housing in the area.

Purfleet Children’s Centre

Cllr Andy Smith spoke on behalf of the under-threat centre based in St Stephen’s Church.

Cllr Smith said: “One of the most scandalous aspects of this business is the way staff at Thurrock Council dealt with the whole affair.

“A member of staff rang up Tracey Luck and out of the blue told her the funding was being pulled, with immediate effect.

“To add insult to injury, they said they would help her and put a notice on the door telling parents it had closed down.”

Sheltered Housing, Vigerons Way

Chadwell Cllr Gerard Rice presented a petition calling for a full time warden at the sheltered accommodation in Vigerons Way.

Cllr Rice said: “I find it absolutely scandalous that the council, at present are employing agency staff at a cost of £27 per hour and that has been going on for four years!”

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