Sunday, March 26, 2023

Tories slam Mayor over lorry park “gagging order”

THE nervous young man called Patrick Cahill entered the body of the council chamber. Mr Cahill, a grandson of one of the “Parents against Lorry Parks” had tabled a question for the chair of the planning committee, cllr Terry Hipsey.

As he sat facing the 49 councillors, he turned to the Mayor and said: “I hope my question comes out OK. I have never done this before and am rather nervous.”

He was told to take his time.

He asked: “How is cllr Hipsey enjoying his time as chair of the planning committee?’

Cllr Hipsey rose and said: “Fine thanks”

Mr Cahill asked his supplementary question. He said: “Could cllr Hipsey tell the chamber why, when he was leader of the council, he failed to take any enforcement action in relation to the Titan lorry park in Oliver Road, West Thurrock.”

The Mayor, Ann Cheale immediately informed Mr Cahill that this question was not permitted.

Blackshots councillor Ben Maney (Cons) shouted: “Disgrace” while fellow councillors, Joy Redsell and leader of the Conservative group, cllr Garry Hague also shook their heads in “disgust.”

Mr Cahill left the chamber. Cllr Tunde Ojetola followed him out. Cllr Ojetola told YourThurrock: “I was embarrassed for the young man. He came to the chamber in good faith. It is hard enough with 49 councillors staring at you but to be then to be dismissed like that was not a good example of how democracy works.

Ockendon councillor, Lyn Carr (Cons) joined the howls of protest. She said: “What example was this for a young person and their first time in politics.

“This was nothing short of disgraceful. No wonder we struggle getting people out to vote if we treat them like this.”


  1. Can I praise all the cons for thier compassion and decency toward this young man,and having the courage to stand up to these Labour Louts. It was my first time at a full council meeting and I can honestly say how appalled I was at her contempt and intimidation Mayor Cheale (Labour) showed this young man. I did not hear a peap from any of the Labour Councillors condemning her behaviour and can only assume thier Morals are of the same. Mayor Cheale needs to remember she only has her position because Labour needed her vote. In my View, you Mayor Cheale are a disgrace, not only to Thurrock Council but also to yourself, Its about time John Kent took control over his Labour Louts and start treating the residents of Thurrock with the respect they deserve. I may be a Labour supporter but good on you conservative party, you have my admiration and respect.
    Deirdre Lodge

  2. Absolutley disgusting, I thought we had a democratic council, obviously not, Mayor Cheale (why we need a mayor is beyond me) must have something to hide by rejecting the question out of hand like that.

    I agree that Mr Kent needs to get a grip of his councillors and start telling the truth about matters that the public have a right to know.

  3. Another of Mr Hipsey’s chickens coming home to roost?

    Why didnt he take any action during the three years he was leader and portfolio holder in charge of planning?

    Interestingly it was Chair of the Planning Committee Councillor Stuart St Clair-Haslam seconded by Leader Terry Hipsey that put forward a motion to a Thurrock council meeting in January 2008 calling for the creation of a lorry park working group looking for suitable sites for a lorry park in Thurrock. The council tapes all their meetings so I wonder what was said during the debate?

    The wording of the motion was ‘This Council, within the next 6 months, identifies site specific locations within both the Western and Eastern parts of the Borough (in addition to that site already identified in the LDF preferred Options publication dated January 2008) suitable for the Construction and making available of 24-hour truck stops in Thurrock. Furthermore, that the Members of Thurrock Council request Cabinet to consider establishing a cross-party working committee to oversee the work of officers and enjoin the same in considering the options for these 24 hour truck stops and to help
    the Officers ensure that the same materialise within the next six-months.

    I wonder if the illegal Titan works site was endorsed by the very Lorry Park working group Councillors Hipsey and St Clair-Haslam created? Could this explain why it was immune from any enforcement action for nearly four years?

    It is odd, minutes of every council meetings are on Thurrock councils website, yet no minutes are published by the lorry park working group? Why are they secret? What will they reveal?

    It would appear that Yash Gupta sat on some of these meetings as he mentions them in his councillor reports

    some examples below

    5.Local Development Framework Meetings
    On 5th & 8th March 2009 I attended these evening meetings where we discussed suitable sites for lorry parking and sites for future housing developments. Our Council has set a target of building 18,500 houses by 2021. The big issue is of protecting our green land. There is hardly any future development in our Grays Thurrock ward.

    12. Local Development Framework Meetings
    To expedite the work of this strategic document the Group agreed to have two meetings a week. I attended the meetings of this group on 10th June, 22nd June, and 29th June 2009; when a number of issues relating to regeneration and future developments were discussed such as lorry parking areas, waste management; minerals; sports and leisure facilities.

    This whole lorry park issue is throwing up more questions than answers.


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