Thursday, June 13, 2024

Tories claim “naked political gain” behind Labour “misleading” public over Grays Beach

In a response to a petition revealed at Thurrock Council on Wednesday, the Labour group have effectively admitted that they misled the public over the so-called “privatisation” of Grays beach claims Conservative group leader, cllr Phil Anderson.

Earlier this year a Conservative proposal to combine Thurrock’s leisure facilities under a single management trust was voted through by Thurrock Council.

Cllr Anderson said: “This led to hysterical claims from Labour that Grays beach was to be “privatised”, a claim which featured prominently in their pre-election literature and led to a public petition presented at full Council

“Now in their response to that petition, Labour have formally admitted that “the Council is not currently considering the outsourcing of any part of Grays Beach”.

Conservative leader Cllr Phil Anderson goes on to state: “This shows that Labour knew all along that a sell-off of Grays beach was never on the cards. They deliberately misled the public for naked political gain, and caused a lot of fear and anxiety in the process. Now they have had to admit that it was all just spin and smear. I hope that people will remember this next time they see negative campaigning by Thurrock Labour in the run-up to an election.

“Our plans to bring Thurrock’s leisure facilities under a new management trust are the best way to secure their future. We cannot carry on operating at a loss in the current financial climate. It is right that the land itself remains in public ownership, but running this type of facility is not what a local Council does best. Would you want to go to a theme park run by a local authority?”.


  1. Does anyone actually believe anything that is printed on Party Political paraphernalia, if they do they are very naive, all partys “embelish the truth” to suit their own cause, the Cons are no better than Lab or any other party in this respect.

    Grays beach is a centre point of the local area and a lot of investment has gone into it, maybe it would be better with a private company running it, after all TBC have not got a good track record of running leisure facilities have they? and if Impulse ever got their hands on the Beach or the Theatre then that woudl sound the death knell for both of these areas, after all they cannot run the sports centres correctly.

    Also with regards to Grays Beach, I seriously hope that the application to sell alcohol in the cafe is thrown right out of the window, this is a childrens park not a theme park

  2. The major attraction in Grays. It does need a review – but no alcohol the drunks are back in Grays and all the signs regarding no alcohol zones appeared to have gone, Take a look at Gravesham Council how they manage the Riverside Cafe and Park. Great Regatta couple of weeks ago.

  3. Cllr has to Anderson you think that Thurrock residents have short memory. There was weeks of press around the Grays Beach agenda before the election. Your statement shows you have not listened to the voice of the electorate or listened to the advice of officers in Thurrock council.

    Your predecessor Hague wanted to ‘package up’ leisure facilities and ‘outsource’ them. Put simply privatise them. Labour said no and so did the residents.

    The chief executive of the council received a letter from Cory Environmental Trust solicitors to say that it could not be privatised and they would take legal action against the council if any steps to privatise were taken.

    What angers me the most in your statement is your referall to Thurrock residents not expecting to go to a ‘theme park’ and seeing the council running the sevice.

    I find this insulting as will many others. Theme parks are full of white knuckle rides and an adult pays £27.60 to enter and a child £24.00, you can do the maths yourself fo. Theme parks are a completly different experience to a local park and so they should be.

    I would prefer to liken a trip to Grays beach park to that of one to Brentwood Park or Upminster Park – a lovely day out with my children and FREE.

    What we can see is your way of leadership – we can expect to see you pushing to privatise more of OUR services as your time as leader of The Thurorck Tories. We will be waiting.

  4. On Wednesday 25th June I attended my first full council meeting as a member of the public, since losing my seat in Ockendon at the last local election, which is something I intend to do as regularly as possible as my interest in Thurrock has not diminished. However I had particular interest to an entry on the agenda under “recent petitions presented and their outcomes”, which reported on a member of the publics petitioned request to the Council not to sell Grays Beach. The answer from the Council which was never in doubt made it quite clear that this was never the intention and that it is not under consideration or part of their long term plans. Some members of the conservative group asked the portfolio holder if she was prepared to apologise for misleading the public during labour’s election campaign about the Tories plans to sell this piece of the family silverware. She refused as she claimed that the then leader of the conservatives publicly stated that it was for sale and to whom it was to be sold.
    During the election campaign I tried to make it quite clear as to the exact reasoning behind the decision to include the packaging of the council’s leisure activities and looking at other options as how to run them in the budget. My efforts were obviously in vain as I am no longer a Councillor, and I was simply accused of being a human shield for Cllr Hague.
    With regards to the election in the Ockendon ward Cllr Kiely was often seen and heard stating how important this beach was to the people of Ockendon and by selling it off, how they would be deprived of family visits in a time of austerity when many families would not be able to afford a holiday, which In itself is a very noble point of view, but I would ask him to now make a public apology to all the people of Ockendon by stating that after seeing the facts it is now quite clear that he had misinformed them, infact once he has done this maybe ALL of the labour Councillors should consider doing the same within their wards, as the leaflet in question did not simply state that the beach was “up for sale” but that it had already been “SOLD”. I am not naïve enough to believe that this blatant untruth was enough to unseat me, but I do not like the thought of the good people of Ockendon in particular and Thurrock in general not being told the truth, and would urge the labour group to be more considerate with their election leaflets in the future.

  5. Barry you lost your seat because of the indifference of your then Leader Gary over the budget last minute games / good campaigning by the Labour candidate and your apparent link to the near Bankruptcy of Thurrock Council and the emergency cuts which were imposed. The Tory Party could have pushed for clarificaton of budgets on Grays Beach / Adult college but instead enacted policy which left many staff / residents and people very angry and unnerved. If an apology is needed it should be from Phil and yourself for the budget games which lost you, your seat, the Local Tory Pary its Leader and the Tory Party of Thurrock overall chance of control – not a good 7pm amendment!

  6. Well done Vince. You beat me in the race to state the obvious to Mr Johnson. You were beaten in Ockendon by a better man , a better organised campaign and a lot of hard work. No doubt it was helped by the fact that Gary Hauge presented an amendment to the council budget stating that Grays beach , The Thameside Theatre and local village halls should be “out sourced” to a private company. If that doesnt mean privatisation then what does. You voted in favour of that amendment and paid the price with your seat.

    As for apologies perhaps it should be you apologising to the people of Ockendon after being elected the first time on a “pro police” campaign saying “that a part time police station is not enough” then this time supporting a government whose policies meant a reduction of some 1000 police jobs in Essex and Ockendon police station having its hours reduced and not being open after 8pm.

  7. What a pity that you feel qualified to give me advice but only whilst hidden behind pseudonyms.
    I still cannot see any problems with a budget amendment that saved the PCSO’s, which the people of Ockendon wanted so much, I also don’t see any problem with saving weekly bin collections, and trying to maximise the service offered by the Council’s leisure services. If you really believe that the amendments were put together at 7pm then you are sadly mistaken, infact the only piece of the budget put together at the last minute was labour’s U-Turn on the bins. As for my campaign in 2007 for a police station with longer opening hours, I still believe that to be the best option for Ockendon. Sadly after I put forward a motion to council in July 2007 to ask for the funding, the then labour government informed us that the Essex Police were adequately financed. Unfortunately it is never possible to get everything you want, but at least I tried, and I don’t think we have such a poor deal now in Ockendon, after all there are 5 shifts that cover a 24/7 vigil at the station with rapid response vehicles also on call, something else the labour leaflet aimed at me failed to mention. Before you begin sprouting silly tales regarding the council’s financial plight please speak to your boss Cllr Kent and ask him who put in place all the financial reporting guidelines and the openness of the budget and if he is honest with you his followers, you may have your eyes opened.
    Once again thank you for your advice but please let everyone know your real identities in future and make this a proper debate.

  8. My Tag is Vince63 because it is easy. My name is Vincent Offord. Your budget amendment made me and many others very angry, No discussion just acceptance. No. It would be arrogant of me to tell you what to do and you had some interesting ideas but you lost because of the motion tabled and your poor leader’s poor defence. Asking for an apology for such a motion is wrong and continues to show a lack of insight regarding the emotions and plain anger which that budget amendment raised. Discussion could have been entered into at time not now. You cannot rewrite history.

  9. Mr Johnson did not lose in Ockendon because he was beaten by a ‘better man’ or because the good people of Ockendon were fed up with the goings on in the Council Chamber. Some of you socialist types need a reality check, local politics barely registers to the vast majority of people in the borough. Most people really don’t give a monkey’s one way or another who does what to whom and why. Turn out in Ockendon was less than 40%, more than 60% stayed at home, just couldn’t be bothered. Those of us who do take an interest are clearly in the minority and it is to the minority that local politicians need to be speaking. I live in Ockendon and I saw Mr Kiely out and about several times in the run up to the election, I saw Mr Johnson not at all. Mr Kiely took the time to come and speak to people out in the streets and Mr Johnson appears not to have done (he may well have done but I never saw him). It’s probably as simple as that. The man that put the effort in got the reward.

  10. All too often local politicians can’t be bothered to canvass at the doorstep in the run up to elections, they think it is a done deal, in my area I only saw one person but they could not even be bothered to answer a few questions they only wanted to know if I would be supporting their party, and people wonder why more than 50% of the electorate can’t be botheered to turn out to vote, if prospective councillors cannot be bothered then why should the electorate.

  11. No hard feelings then from Barry Johnson then……………….

    Barry unless amanda intends to stand aside for you Concillor Keily has four years to show Ockendon residents he will represeent them ALL in th e chamber.

    Or are you willing to stand anywhere to get back in the chamber?

    You have rattled on about Labours leaftlets but have conveniently forgotten the misleading leaflets that your own party put out. The leaflet pandering to the BNP vote that Maureen Pearce put out is one that comes to mind.

    Pot keetle black i think.

  12. Nice to be called a Socialist I shall try to live up to expectation! Try my best for family / friends and Community regardless of race / creed / colour /politics or income!

  13. Vince63, couldn’t agree more. It’s a pity that socialism has come to symbolise the taking of money from the hard working to give to the feckless and the idle in the name of ‘fairness’.

  14. Hi Sting,no hard feelings here just looking for real debate. Maybe if you were to ask your question again using your real identity I might be more inclined to answer it !!!! Maybe I should run against you????
    However I will refer to my original post at YT and the point I was making is that in my humble opinion an appology from Cllr Kieley for misleading the people of Ockendon during an election campaign with blatant untruths that Grays Beach and Thameside Theatre had been SOLD would be the correct thing to do.

  15. Barry Johnson should offer an apology for claiming on film on Your Thurrock that the minutes of the Conservative Group meeting where certain councillors suggested not standing candidates in Tilbury so the BNP could beat Labour were fake. What blatant untruths you tell Barry. A case of do as I say not what I do Barry?


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