Saturday, September 30, 2023

Tory leader tells council bosses: Get on with your job!

UNDER-FIRE Tory leader, cllr Garry Hague has denied claims that he has humiliated the chief executive of Thurrock Council over his controversial plans for Grays Beach Park.

As exclusively revealed in YT on Friday, council bosses were said to be raging after receiving a letter from Cory Environmental Trust indicating that they may ask for £1.3 million back should there be plans to “outsource” the park.

YT understands that bosses are angry that cllr Hague did not brief them as to the possibility of this happening although a similar situation had occurred in 2008 when the Chafford councillor was a portfolio holder.

YourThurrock sent cllr Hague a series of questions on Monday regarding the controversy.

The questions were:

1. In your discussions with the Chief Executive regarding the “packaging up of leisure services” did you specifically mention Grays Beach Park?

2. a. If you did, did you make reference to the possible problem with Cory Environmental Trust?

2. b. If you didn’t make specific reference, do you feel that you should have?

3. You referred to Grays Beach Park in the chamber. Was this wise, if you hadn’t specifically referred to it in discussions with the Ch. Exec?

4. As detailed in our article on March 25th. Cory have now written to the Chief Executive and made reference to possible courses of action.

To what extent do you think this would have been avoidable had you briefed the Chief Exec or do you think that was the job of officers?

5. To what extent do you think that this matter has embarrassed the Chief Exec or made him look in any way not in charge of his brief?

6. To what extent, do you think that this has damaged the relationship between the Chief Exec and yourself.

7. Should you form an administration after May 5th, to what extent do you think it is incumbent upon yourself to step aside in order that the relationship btw Thurrock Council officers and Tory councillors can start afresh?

Cllr Hague replied:

“Senior officers were aware of the Conservative Budget alternatives well in advance of the Full Council Budget meeting.

“The proposals were discussed in sufficient detail to support an initial cost and feasibility appraisal and the alternatives were progressed on this basis. Indeed we would not have put any proposal before Full Council without confirmation from the S151 Officer and Chief Executive that the savings were feasible and realisable.

“With respect to “packaging up of the leisure activities within a trust and seeking a specialised organisation to run them”, the saving put forward of £20,000 is extremely conservative and allows for a range of options to be considered. With respect to Grays Beach, like any other of the Council’s leisure facilities a review now needs to be undertaken, taking on board the views of residents and stakeholders, to establish the best way forward.

There is no reason at all why the objectives of Cory and the Council cannot be aligned when it comes to charting out a way to run services better and more efficiently.

The potential for a trust to run the Council’s leisure services offers many benefits as discussed with senior officers before this proposal was taken to Full Council. I should reiterate that at no time was there any discussion of closing Grays Beach. Our proposal is to find a better way of operating the Council’s leisure facilities to enhance them and protect their viability. The Labour Councillors do a great dis-service to their residents by suggesting that a much valued facility such as Grays Beach might be closed.

I am satisfied that a robust process was followed with respect to advancing our alternative Budget. The final proposals presented to Full Council were approved in terms of cost and feasibility by the Chief Executive and S151 Officer, which is the correct procedure. It is now down to officers and the Administration to make these savings happen and to realise the benefits.

No councillor or officer should be embarrassed by the Conservative alternative Budget as it lays out a positive way forward for Thurrock consistent with the Council’s agreed vision and priorities. The only people who should be embarrassed are the Labour Administration who failed to get the backing of Full Council for their own Budget and now look ridiculous worrying people about cutting services when they are the ones allegedly running Thurrock Council and the ones making the decisions!

As regards who leads the Conservative Group, that is a decision for the Conservative Council Members themselves. This will be decided after we take back control of Thurrock Council in May.


  1. Cllr Hague I think most people in Thurrock thought you was dead being you didn’t have anything to say for 7months. I think the last thing Thurrock needs is a person of your caliber, who managed to get the council into millions of pounds worth of debt and you have the audacity to go on about the Tory budget. Do yourself a favor never wear a tie and a belt on the same day otherwise you will be mistaken for a couple of sausages. That’s about the strength of you no go back to sleep for 7months.

  2. Wheres Gary? – Oh no its supposed to be Wheres Wally – never mind same thing. The hunt continues for both of them or are they actually the same person!!!!!!!!

    Wherever he is he has definatley not provided the answer to the questions asked of him by YT.

    Gary Hague:
    Did you or did you not tell Graham Farrrant the chief executive of Thurrock council that there was a legally binding agreement stopping any privatisation of Grays beach for 25 years? A simple yes or no will suffice on this one.

    In regard to your reference on packaging up leisure services It is typical that now you have imposed the budget you now want to go and get the ‘views of the residents and stakeholders’. Bit late Gary now that you have already imposed the cuts on the councils budget. Stable door – Horse bolted etc. I am sure that the residents, stakeholders and Thurrock Council staff would have liked consultation before you yeilded the guillotine on their jobs and local leisure facilities.

    Oh and by the way – dont hold you breath on taking the council in May and you retaining the leaders position. Thurrock residents have rumbled you and your new spokesman Barry Johnson – You have stitched Thurrock resident up big time.


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