Tories accuse Labour of planning “back room deal” in Aveley.

CONSERVATIVE councillors in Aveley have expressed their ‘shock and anger’ after Thurrock Council failed to provide any official representation at the public inquiry into a new industrial development.

The Secretary of State agreed to hold a public inquiry into the development at Ponds Farm near Aveley after residents expressed their concern at the loss of over 100 acres of greenbelt land.

Aveley Conservative Councillor Amanda Prevost said: “We fought hard to get this public inquiry so that the decision could be made by an independent inspector. I was shocked and angry when I walked in on the first day to discover that there would be no official representation from Thurrock Council.

There were legal teams from the Thames Gateway Development Corporation (who are backing the development) and Havering Council who are barely affected by it, but Thurrock could not come up with anything apart from a written submission.

The Council’s official position is that they oppose this industrial development on greenbelt land, but with no legal representation to defend us there is no way that our case will be properly made to the inspector.

I can’t help suspecting that some kind of back room deal has been done, with Thurrock agreeing not to defend Pond’s Farm and the Development Corporation supporting them on developments elsewhere in the Borough. 40 local residents had turned up to express their views at this inquiry, and to be honest we feel like the Council have sold us down the river.”

The decision not to represent Thurrock at the inquiry was made with the agreement of Labour cabinet member Andy Smith and leader of council John Kent. Cllr Prevost will be putting a formal question to the next full meeting of Thurrock Council demanding that they explain their actions.

For further information, please contact Cllr Amanda Prevost on 07917 037188 or awilton@thurrock.gov.uk.

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