COUNCIL officers have been slammed by their own councillors for an over zealous reaction that saw them dismantle a children’s playground.
Angry residents acted quickly and amassed more than 600 signatures on a petition within hours of equipment being removed from the playground off Ruskin Road, in Stanford-le-Hope reports The Essex Enquirer.
Thurrock Council says its officers were acting with safety in mind as they have no cash to repair the equipment – though residents and parents say it was perfectly safe.
“I have two children, aged three and seven, who use it regularly. I would not let them go on it if it wasn’t safe. This is just health and safety gone mad,” said one parent as she signed the petition at a nearby service station and supermarket.
Local councillors Terry Hipsey and Eddie Hardiman were angered by the speed of the Council’s action.
Tory Cllr Hardiman said: “Both ward councillors were given no notice of this. Officers just came down and did it.
“We have had to go around apologising for this action and I have shown my anger by signing the petition. We are appalled by what has happened There seems no joined up thinking at the Council, just people making random decisions. If this was unsafe why not just repair it, or take out the unsafe bit? There was no need to take away the whole lot and leave the site bare.
“They talk about vandals, it is the Council that has carried out vandalism.”
His Labour counterpart was equally upset, but also laid the blame on the Council’s empty coffers.
Cllr Hipsey said: “I was disappointed there was no consultation over this. As ward councillors we were given less than 24 hours notice but then again, we are only elected councillors. What do we matter to officers? I have been hit with a deluge of complaints from residents, but I have had to tell them I only know as much as them.
“To an extent I can accept some degree of concern over health and safety issues but at the end of the day it’s only a bit of wood that needs replacing.
“Of course the origin of this is the fact that the previous administration frittered our council taxpayers’ money away by giving blank cheques to people like the interim chief executive Bob Comber. He and others have walked away with lots of cash and there’s nothing left in the pot for the people who matter, the residents.
“I do think the action in Ruskin Road is over the top, but it is extremely difficult for my colleagues in the Cabinet trying to sort out our financial mess and more things like this could happen, I’m afraid. However, I will be raising this issue in the hope of getting something sorted for Ruskin Road and I understand there may be the possibility of some financial assistance from outside to get this play equipment back.”
A Council spokesperson said: “The Council’s play team visited the site to carry out routine inspections of the aging Logworld units. The unit has suffered some small fires over the years, which has left the support legs weak and it is no longer safe and is beyond repair.
“Thurrock Council is sorry it has to remove any playground equipment in the borough, but at the moment there are no funds available for replacement. The Council is happy to work with residents to help find alternative sources of funding.”
First the parks then the leisure centres, Thurrock is soon to become the barren wasteland of Essex, well done TBC, what a buch of morons we have in charge, time for them all to step down and get people who know what they are doing in office.
The people of Thurrock need to make a stand against these petty bureaucrats that are wasting our money on a daily basis.
Too true. It is time that the true service costs were laid out. If people wish to retain them then they will have to pay. Statutory provision followed by discretionary. The Play builder scheme has transformed some areas but the withdrawal of Council Equipment is very worrying.
Here is an interview by Labour Leader John Kent exposing that one person made the decision to dump chief executive Angela Ridgewell – that persons name was Terry Hipsey.
The Times newspaper revealed she got £330,000 pay off
The interview also reveals that the chief executive before called David White got £400,000 to leave Thurrock council. The Leader of the council at that time was also called Terry Hipsey.
The tally for dumping two chief executives is £730,000. Im sure I read that Interim Chief Executive Bob Coomber cost tax payers £200,000 so that increases the bill for Terry Hipsey’s actions close to £1 million.
Thurrock Council has £2 million in reserves, the council should have £3 million but Terry Hipsey blew £1 million on dumping Chief Executives and hiring expensive interim replacements.
I wonder if the Terry Hipsey Leader of Thurrock Council and Terry Hipsey Labour Councillor for Stanford West are the same person?
Of course they must be seperate people otherwise the Terry Hipsey quoted in the above article is attacking decisions he would have made as leader of Thurrock council and that would be a very stupid thing to do as he would be making himself look like a laughing stock in the eyes of residents if he is one and the same person wouldnt he.
If he is the same person then Hipseys chickens well and truly coming home to roost to a play ground near you.
An after thought.
The council coffers are empty but their is still cash to pay the councillors their allowances.
Does anybody know how much councillors, deputy mayors and chair of planning committees receive in allowances?
How much will new play equipment cost?
I’m sure someone can do a bit of number crunching.
Well When Cllr Hipsey gets up to four million like Cllr Hauge . I think we will have some think to worry about plus Cllr. Hauge giving head of planning Mr Newman the go ahead for outside consultation that cost millions I believe to help with the “LDF that has giant flaws in it “has the inspectorate has deferred it so officers can have another pot shot at it. If officers cannot delegate a company to sort out some broken bits of wood in a child’s Park what chance have we got with the planning department finding 18000 new homes and 12000 new jobs so I think the former leader is the least of the problems we have here in Thurrock
This is really sad and i feel sorry for the kids wh have lost their play equipment. But if it was unsafe it is better that it was taken down, it would be worse if there was an accident and a kid was hurt. We have to remember that the Con dems have scrapped the play builder projects that were going up around the borough. The tories have spent all the reserves so the chances of getting new equipment is not looking good for these kids. Perhaps Dubai Ports up the road might like to show some community spirit!