OVER 200 Thurrock business men and women packed into the Civic Hall, Blackshots, on Friday (4 November) morning to help take the first steps to a new bright regenerated borough.
Graham Farrant, Thurrock Council’s chief executive, told the audience about the regeneration plans, the ways the council can help established and new businesses and how the “conversation” with business can continue in the future.
Thurrock is lucky, he said, its regeneration plans were moving forward while many others were facing major cuts if not total demise.
“Thurrock is open for business,” he said, adding that the council “now has to step up to the plate” and lead the way.
Earlier, Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, said: “Thurrock is the place to do business in the South East; close to the capital and the M25, giving businesses easy access to the national road and rail networks as well as the South East as a whole. The river, of course opens up the “peoples of the world.
“The big projects we know about — London Gateway or DP World and the Port of Tilbury; the Royal Opera House and National Skills Academy in Purfleet; the Lakeside expansion and the South Essex College development in Grays.
“Our borough is in ‘the heart of the Thames Gateway, the biggest regeneration project in Europe’.”
He asked: “With all that going for us how can we go wrong?” But he warned the council and the business community “must ensure we grab every opportunity; it is our generation’s responsibility to make sure that future generations have the opportunities that previous generations may have missed”.
Cllr Kent urged delegates to mingle with council officers and the many stall holders around the hall to find new ways of engaging with the council and other public sector bodies offering support to business.
And Mr Farrant suggested they log on to www.Thurrockbusiness.net where local business support agencies have teamed up to provide an easy access portal to practical help, advice and guidance and keep local businesses up-dated with the latest developments, news and events affecting Thurrock’s business community.
Afterward, Cllr Kent said: “I came away really enthused with the passion there is for our future here in Thurrock. We know that well over a billion pounds is going to be invested here over the next decade or so. Now I’m even more confident that the movers and shakers are ready for the challenge.
“We have to make sure that we all work together to that this generation of Thurrock’s school and college students and Thurrock’s next generation of managers.”
We have divided up, Mr Farrant’s speech into two parts. The second part will be shown tomorrow.