Saturday, June 15, 2024

The sorry saga of SORA continues

WE BELIEVE that the Falkland Islands conflict was once described as “two bald men arguing over a comb” We don’t know if a residents association which represents 8,000 people but has only eight residents attending the meeting is the same thing but it feels like it.

What was once seen as the perfect template for resident representation seems, somewhere along the line to have gone haywire.

The meetings continued to be chaired by suspended councillor Sue Gray (Lab) Many thought that following the police investigation regarding the “Muslim e-mail” and with a local election campaign that cllr Gray would keep a low profile but she appears to have adopted a “Je ne regrette rien” philosophy.

YT asked local resident Peter Perrin for his take on the recent meeting. The committee are not available for comment and we understand that no minutes were taken of the meeting.

Mr Perrin said: “At the meeting, cllr Sue Gray, acting in her capacity as chairperson of South Ockendon Residents Association, attempted to have me, Mr Peter Perrin, a 78 year old veteran campaigner, a SORA member and a Belhus resident, removed from the meeting as a consequence of receiving a complaint from three members.

Cllr Gray then read out the following statement: “Chair had three complaints after the meeting [3rd March 2011] about Mr Perrin’s continued interruptions during the meeting and his attitude towards Chair. Members are concerned at the manner and attitude of the questions. Therefore Mr Perrin will be given a spoken warning at the next meeting he attends, if his attitude does not alter, he will be asked to leave”.

“I requested permission of the Chairperson [Sue Gray] to reply to her statement, permission granted,

I vigorously defended himself making the following statement.

My response to Sue Gray.

Thank you Madam Chair.

I am astonished that some Members are concerned at the manner and attitude of my questions. What do they mean by the manner and attitude of my questions do they consider my questions to be ill-mannered and have an attitude problem? You say you had 3 complaints, presumably from members of SORA, after the meeting on 3rd March 2011 about what they perceived to be my “continued interruptions “ and my “attitude” toward you as Chairperson.

Those members are entitled to their opinions but they are just their own opinions there are other members who are of the opinion that, far from being disruptive, I am simply asking a question and being persistent in getting an answer. If that upsets and irritates you and some members I do not feel obliged to apologise or change my ways as I do not consider I have done anything wrong.

Your statement that I will be given a spoken warning at the next meeting I attend, to say nothing of the manner you chose to announce it, plus the fact that I will be asked to leave if you or other members do not approve of my conduct, confirms my belief that you and they are determined to have me excluded from SORA meetings not because of misconduct or wrongdoing on my part but purely out of spite on your part and a vindictive desire to be rid of me..

Unlike most members of your Committee and some members of SORA , whose conduct you have encouraged and condoned , I have never been impolite, abusive, used foul language, made filthy remarks or physically attacked you or any other member of SORA. You do not consider their conduct merits any form of censure or apology but you see fit to censure me and exclude me from SORA meetings for what you and some members call my manner and attitude without any explanation as to what that means.

In the minutes of 3rd March 2011 meeting you make mention of the current code of conduct. Where was this code of conduct when you allowed a member to make filthy, insulting remarks about me, where was this code of conduct when you presided over a meeting of your Committee, to which I had been invited supposedly so that you and your Committee would listen to me and address some concerns I had raised, but in reality turned out to be a kangaroo court at which I was bullied, harangued, threatened, verbally abused and physically attacked by members of your Committee which you made no attempt to stop. In fact so bad was the behaviour of some members of your Committee the meeting had to be abandoned.

It seems that you are being selective as to whom this code of conduct applies and in my case you are using it as a means of silencing me and preventing me from attending SORA meetings.

Quite frankly most members of the Association do not need a code of conduct to tell them how to behave, courtesy, politeness and good manners is second nature to them, it is you, some members of your Committee and members you invite to make comments about other members who need lessons in how to behave and conduct themselves. I will take no lessons or lectures from you or any member of your Committee as to how I should behave and conduct myself.

Thank you Madam Chair.

I was asked, by Sue Gray, to leave the meeting at which point several members protested that she had no reason to require that Mr Perrin leave the meeting and her action was unwarranted.

In the face of this unexpected opposition Cllr Gray, visibly shaken and clearly frustrated, was forced to back down but at the same time commenting that if some members were not happy with how she ran SORA then they should leave and form their own association.

When later asked I said that I and other Belhus residents were already planning to break away from SORA and form the Belhus Tenants and Residents Association so that the Belhus Councillors would be required to concentrate on Belhus issues, be more accountable to the people who elected them i.e the Belhus Ward voters and leave South Ockendon residents and councillors to deal with their own issues.

In view of the current situation, which appears to have reached a “stand-off” between the two “warring” factions a break away is the inevitable solution.


  1. I for one can’t believe what sora thinks of the residents, her answer to me when i commented about the minuites of a preveious meeting that a resident has no say so it dosnt matter if you agree or disagree we are to keep our mouth shut and be good little resident as the queen has spoken. I for one feel she should listen to the resident with their concerns and not treat sora as her own club.

  2. I for one won’t be voteing for any Labour councillors again, as for the SORA group, I thought that the Maffia had left England for sunnier climbs, but no there is a small pocket of die hards living and breathing in downtown Ockendon, pretending to be supporters of the people, they were voted in to help the residents of South Ockendon Belhus Ward.
    It seems to me and no dought, various other local belhus voters that, things have gone very wrong here in the Belhus Ward, firstly we have the Muppet Queen who thinks she can do what she likes when she likes, because she is the Chairperson of SORA, she even ignores her own party whips and doesnt attend full meetings where her vote counts, where is she prentending to be ill, and in bed with the flu, where was she really, attending a SORA meeting so that her faithfull subjects can vote her in for another term of office, she is well protected by her bigot freinds, she can even pretend that she can, send on racial hate mail to her pet lap dog, and tell people she did it for a laugh??, I feel it is time for Mr.Kent to reel this person in before she discredits the entire LABOUR group in Thurrock, as for the other Labour councillors for Belhus ward, you have aided and abetted this sad old women, who cant give up power, not because she is good at what she does, becauswe without it she wouldnt survive, she doesnt care about the residents in South Ockendon, if she did she would have looked beyond her nose, and saw the writing on the wall, it as taken her and her croonie mates, months to emerge, and hire the Forum for there meetings, that is because people have made it there business to seek them out, no longer can they go to ground and hold meetings where everything is swept under the table, for her treasured mates.
    Please please for the last time wake up and help the residents you are supposed to help, not just the Boy Scouts or the old age pensioners annual xmas dinner, or when it comes up for re election, take a fresh look around you, there are people of mixed race living here, who need local employment, and good transport links, and good schooling, and better health care for older people, this can be achieved with the help of the local councillors working with the local people and not against them, like you have been doing for the last ten years or more.

  3. I hope that Cllr Gray will now take a look at the way she runs the South Ockendon Residents Association [SORA] before she has to learn another “hard lesson”. She says she now wants to get on with the job of representing her community here in Belhus. That has been the trouble, along with her two colleagues Cllrs Charles and Wendy Curtis she has concerned herselffar to much with the South Ockendon Ward and neglected the people of Belhus Ward. Where were our Belhus Cllrs when the Belhus residents needed their support over the problems caused by the amount of Heavy Goods Vehicles [HGVs] thundering past their homes day and night? They openly OPPOSED the petition signed by 347 Belhus residents saying they could not support it because it was condoning an illegal act i.e the encroachment onto “green belt” land by Howard Tenens. The organiser of the petition, Ms Deirdre Lodge, along with those who helped her, has always made it clear that she did not condone any illegal act but felt that was an issue, if necessary, to be settled through the courts and should not have prevented the Cllrs from showing solidarity and sympathy with the Belhus residents. To make matters worse Cllr Charles Curtis attended a planning meeting at which he personally spoke in opposition to what the residents wanted despite the fact he is the Chairman of Veoila Mardyke Trust an organisation that has links to the parent company [Veoila Waste Management?] which has a vested interest i.e. the building of houses on the Howard Tenens site, should it become vacant, So I ask what was the real reason for the Cllrs opposition? Again where were our Belhus Cllrs when the residents of Hamble Lane were having problems with flies, smells and noise caused by work being done by Rural Arisings who are developing that land into a “Country Park, work that has been continous for the past 2 years or so and is to continue for at least another 10 to 12 years? Cllr Wendy Curtis response at a SORA meeting was to say it was worth putting up with minor inconveniences such as flies, smells and noise for a few years if at the end of it the residents and their families have a nice country park to enjoy. The typical attitude of a Cllr who is not affected by the inconveniences but expects others to accept them without complaint. I can only assume that Sue Gray, as a Cllr and Chairperson of SORA, agrees with her.
    So Cllr Gray as you say, along with your two colleagues, get on with the job of representing your community here in Belhus Ward and leave the South Ockendon Ward to be represented by their own elected Councillors. Another lesson to learn Cllr Gray it is the residents of Belhus Ward who elected you, not the residents of Ockendon, and they rightfully expect Belhus Councillors to concern themselves with Belhus issues

  4. It appears that our favourite cllr.W.Curtis and Cllr.S.Gray, have now defended the residents whose properties back onto the M25, because of noise pollution, they say and I quote “They have no quality of life” because of the noise coming from the M25, I and many other tenents along the Stifford Road, have to put up with noises from the, M25-Essex Arena-Lorries 24/7 passing our homes, also when the council carried out a traffic sensus along Stifford Road, they found the noise to be 71 Decibels, if that was in a factory we would be issued with ear defenders?, our homes are badly glazed, they let all the noise into the properties, also we get lights shineing into our properties, from Howard Tenens Yard, what have our local councillors done or doing about these problems “A BIG FAT NOTHING” because they dont live down here, so they are not concearned about us or our health, we are all living with high levels of Stress, arent we entitled to be treated with dignity and also have a quality of life. like everybody else, its not alot to ask for is it?, we are after all council tax payers, and in some cases council tenents, its a real pity that this area along Stifford Road, is being left to rot, we ahve a lovely woods opposite our home, and there are grassed public areas near to our home, but we cant use, them because of the noise pollution and air pollution?..


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