LAST NIGHT, Thurrock Council’s planning committee went into closed session to discuss the findings of reports into the unauthorised lorry park in Oliver Road, West Thurrock run by Titan Works.
Whilst in open session, cllr Gerard Rice had put forward a motion that a representative of the group, Graham Petherick, be allowed to make a three minute presentation to the council. Unfortunately, no other councillor would second that motion.
Mr Petherick was visibly angry and after the meeting confronted council leader, John Kent telling him: “I have an eight hundred strong petition calling for a vote of no confidence in you.”
The scenes got uglier outside.
Editor of the Thurrock Enquirer, Neil Speight asked Mr Petherick why he had apparently shown no interest in the lorries between 2006 and 2010.
Mr Speight said: “I have been reporting on this matter when I was editor of the Thurrock Gazette and now the Thurrock Enquirer but I have never heard of you until today.
Mr Petherick replied: “We didn’t know of the plans until recently.”
He was then asked where he lived. He replied: “High Street, Orsett.”
At this time, members of the group confronted Mr Speight and said: “You’ve (The Enquirer) got the contract with Thurrock Council so you are colluding with them.
Mr Speight defended the accusation. He said: “I have run articles on this lorry park for seven years. I have followed the matter and will continue to do so but to say that I am corrupt is a huge insult and greatly damages your cause indeed.
“It appears that you are happy to make accusations against councillors and officers. Indeed, that is your democratic right to do so but the second anyone asks you a difficult question, you become aggressive and intimidating.”
During the planning meeting, Mr Petherick had been seen in deep discussion with a woman with her face covered and wearing glasses.
Mr Petherick was asked if he knew who the woman was. He said “No”
The woman revealed that her name was Jacqueline Smith. During the meeting she shuffled between Mr Petherick in the gallery and the reception area.