Former planning councillor charts meetings over lorry park to public inquiry

FORMER chair of Thurrock Council’s planning department, Mr Stuart St-Clair-Haslam gave evidence to the public inquiry into the enforcement notice imposed on the Titan lorry park in Oliver Road, West Thurrock.

The former councillor and practising solicitor, told the inquiry, headed by planning inspector Pete Drew, that he was happy to give his evidence on oath but this was not required.

Mr St-Clair-Haslam told the inquiry that he wished to give his version of a number events referred to by ICG’s planning consultant, Brian Pooley.

Mr St-Clair-Haslam said: “On the 12th February, 2009, a meeting was brokered by cllr Joy Redsell between ICG boss Alan Carver and Brian Pooley. Also in attendance was cllr Ben Maney and myself.

“Cllr Redsell described Mr Carver as a personal friend of over 30 years standing.”

“I want to stress that I welcomed the aspirations of ICG and the potential for employment in the borough.

“However in hindsight, I believe the meeting should have taken place in the presence of council officers.

Mr St-Clair-Haslam went on to detail the next steps.

He said: “At that time we had a working group on lorry parks. Cllr Redsell suggested to me that we invite ICG to make a presentation to the working group.

“Labour councillor Andy Smith interjected and said it was only fair that if we invite ICG then we must invite all other interested parties in respect of lorry parks in the borough.”

“Ultimately, the person who would make the decisions in this case would be the portfolio holder (cllr Garry Hague)

Mr St-Clair-Haslam then went on to detail the events at the full council meeting of January 2010.

He said: “It was at this meeting that the Local Development Framework (LDF) was on the agenda. As ICG’s were part of the LDF, I felt it was important to make a declaration of a prejudicial interest.

“I did this because, the Thurrock Conservative Association had moved their premises into a portakabin on ICG’s Hogg Lane premises.”

The inquiry was later concluded with the decision anticipated for next month.

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