OUTSPOKEN Thurrock Conservative leader, cllr Phil Anderson has given his backing to Chafford councillor, Steven Veryard after he sided with Labour over the enforcement notice on the Titan lorry park in West Thurrock.
Cllr Anderson has questioned cllr Hispey’s fitness to chair the planning committee after the planning inspectorate allowed the lorry park in Oliver Road, West Thurrock to continue operating until 2015.
When it came to the vote: Tory councillors Anderson and Redsell voted against the motion whilst Labour councillors Rice, Liddiard, Healy and Hipsey voted for. They were joined by the East Tilbury Independent Barry Palmer and Chafford Hundred and North Stifford councillor Steven Veryard.
Cllr Anderson said: “Cllr Veryard clearly wanted to see enforcement happen, and by this point in the meeting 28 days was the only option left before us.
“One of the things I value about planning is that the committee almost never divides along party lines and you rarely know in advance who will agree with you on a given issue!
“However, it is clear that the proposal for 28 days was instigated by Cllr Hipsey and very strongly advocated by him. As the chair, he was also in a position to be briefed by officers in advance on the consequences of his proposed course of action and how it was likely to play out.
He chose to ignore this advice and gave a strong steer to the committee that this was the right thing to do in the interests of local residents.
With the inspector now concluding that the 28 day decision was in fact “contrary to the interests of local residents”, I’m clear that it Cllr Hipsey’s judgement which is primarily in question here.
Some political insiders believe that cllr Veryard’s days as a councillor may be numbered. His seat is up for re-election next year and it is anticipated that he may step aside leaving Ockendon councillor and deputy leader, Amanda Arnold an opportunity to jump into that seat and avoid the fate of Barry Johnson back in May.