Local Conservative Councillors call a halt to ‘wrong-headed’ decision over Devonshire Road.

CHAFFORD Hundred councillors Garry Hague, Tunde Ojetola and Simon Wootton have taken the decision to call-in Thurrock Council’s Cabinet Decision on lifting the 7.5 tonne weight limit on Devonshire Road because of a number of concerns ranging from environmental impact and safety to cost.

The Chafford councillors said: “In view of the lack of consultation as promised with ward members, lack of consultation with members of the public, as set out within the Council’s constitution, incompleteness of the Cabinet Report on which the decision was made, and the lack of financial clarity, call in of the Cabinet decision is warranted”.

Cllr. Hague commented, “Residents who live adjacent to, or overlook, Devonshire Road, bought their properties with the knowledge that a weight restriction was in force on Devonshire Road to restrict HGV traffic. Quite understandably they have very serious concerns over the potential safety and environmental impacts if the decision to remove this limit is implemented.”

Cllr. Ojetola added, “Local residents are rightly concerned when any works are to be carried out on local roads and they are right to want to be consulted. Cllr Steve Veryard and I have done our best to furnish them with the facts and to ensure that we make their views known, but we have not been provided with up-to-date reports by the Labour administration and so have been unable to consult properly with the people we represent. This is not a happy state of affairs and we cannot let this decision stand without putting up a fight”.

Cllr. Wootton remarked, “This decision is wrong on many levels. Lack of public consultation and appropriate scrutiny, lack of a properly costed proposal in a time when budgets are under severe pressures, inaccurate Cabinet reports, and commitments not kept. If the administration thought that this decision would simply be waved through then they’ve made yet another mistake to add to the list. I hope that we can use this call-in process to get them to reconsider”.

The councillors are asking for the following;

That the Cabinet reconsider the grounds upon which they formed their original view and defer making a decision until a proper consultation process has been undertaken and all relevant Ward members have been given adequate time to consult with local residents, and all mitigation measures have been properly costed and evaluated as part of a comprehensive scheme for dealing with local transport problems, rather than as a stand alone issue focussing solely on Devonshire Road.

Their position can be summarised as follows; “What we want is a fair, sensible and properly costed decision that is made following proper input from local residents and with all relevant factors taken into account”.

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