Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Stanford residents anger as costly planning inquiry turns into damp Squibb

A GOVERNMENT planning inspector’s probe into a Thurrock Council enforcement action has backfired thanks to a red tape wrangle – leaving council tax payers facing a big legal bill and residents angry and frustrated reports the Thurrock Enquirer.

On Tuesday residents from Stanford-le-Hope turned up to have their say as demolition contractors Squibb attempted to overturn Thurrock Council enforcement action, which came with conditions.

The firm have angered residents by operating from an industrial site just outside the town centre on Wharf Road – with large vehicles, including low loaders carrying huge demolition equipment, thundering through residential areas.

Last year the Council’s planning committee ruled the site was operating illegally and issued an enforcement order on the site, insisting that it could only operate within daytime hours.

Squibb appealed, prompting the Planning Inspector’s inquiry, which was due to take place at the Civic Offices on Tuesday.

But with all sides set to have their say, the inspector ruled that he couldn’t proceed because of the complexities of planning law.

He announced that, while planning legislation does not prohibit the service of an enforcement notice with conditions, it restricted the actions he could take and he had no choice but to quash the enforcement notice and the Council are now left with the possibility of picking up Squibb’s big legal bill.

Local campaigner Terry Piccolo was left angry and dumbfounded, saying: “I have taken a day off work to represent residents, to fight against this menace and the blight on our lives but it appears somebody has not got their act together and now residents who just want some peace and quiet and safety and sanity in their lives are left facing the possibility of at least another year before this is sorted out – and we might have to pick up the tab for it as well.

“It is a shocking state of affairs and it is difficult to take in. I am so angry and disappointed and I know local residents will share those feelings.”

A spokesperson for Thurrock Council said: “The meeting of Thurrock’s planning committee of 7 July 2011 unanimously agreed: ‘That an enforcement notice be served to impose enforceable conditions on the site to mitigate any harm that is being caused from its use.’

“On Tuesday the Planning Inspector informed the Council and Squibb, on opening the proceedings, that while planning legislation does not prohibit the service of an enforcement notice with conditions, it restricted the actions he could take.

“The Council’s enforcement notice was a first. There was nothing illegal or wrong in it and the appellant’s legal team along with the inspectorate found nothing wrong with the approach but it could not stand as it was.

“The appeal was about the ‘excessive nature’ of the conditions.

“This restricted the action the Inspector could take and, he said, it left him no choice but to quash the Enforcement Notice because of this technicality. The Inspector apologised that this information was given on the day of the appeal. At the end of the proceedings, the appellants submitted a costs claim to the Inspectorate as expected and the council responded to this claim.

“A decision from the Inspectorate is expected in the next couple of weeks. “


  1. Could some one please explain who is mr piccolo, and why was he taking a day off work in the first place.i do not mean to be rude. It’s just he puts a statement out stating he had to take time off from work .does he get paid to represent the general public?

  2. Sallyb and Dave Peterson Tilbury. It might surprise you to learn that there are quite a lot of ordinary, non politically motivated, people throughout Thurrock who give their time to deal with matters of importance to their local communities. Often they are OAP’s who want to continue being active and helpful to their area and, of course, they are also ordinary working people trying to do what’s right by their friends and neighbours. Where I live in Ockendon, the local residents association has achieved plenty of good things and all at no cost to anybody except themselves.

  3. And all these achievements would or could never have happened without sufficient financial backing from Thurrock council. well done councillor Kent and councillor worrell.

  4. Colin Barnes, what on Earth has Cllr Kent got to do with anything I said? Get a grip man, that’s two irrelevant posts you have made regarding Cllr Kent on these pages. I can assure you that getting money out of Thurrock Council to do anything at all is no easy task, you have to fight for every penny. And that is true whoever is in charge of the council at the time so I am not making a partisan post here, unlike your good self.

  5. Gary 64
    I’m not disputing that residents do a lot for the borough,and with out much of their hard work and campaning a lot of things would never be achived.
    what threw me was mr piccolo then when on to complain about loosing a day at work.
    If Dave Peterson is correct will he be moaning then.

  6. Sallyb, Dave Peterson is speculating and being a local campaigner almost always doesn’t mean candidate for local elections. I just do not see where you are coming from on this one, you seem annoyed that somebody is annoyed for losing a day’s work, which is a bit strange.

  7. I feel sure that had the hearing gone ahead there would be no problem with being of work for the day, I think the problem was that having been prepared to take a day off work, the day was then wasted.
    I feel anyone who had altered their routine to accomodate something would also complain if it turned out to be a waste of time!
    It REALLY seems strange to me that this string is all about Mr Piccolo and not about the REAL issue, that of the problem faced by local residents with regards to Squibb’s operation down Wharf Rd.

  8. Hmmm, so the Inspectorate has quashed the Enforcement Notice leaving TBC with a possible hefty legal bill from Squibb, it does raise the question of how the enforcement conditions were put together and by whom, also questions will need to be asked about the legal team that TBC used to implement this notice.

    Certainly some unanswered questions to this case, it will be intersting to see what the Inspectorate comes back with once they have gone through the legal process.

  9. Gray64 and bernard87. So where does most of the forum money come from ?, tree’s perhaps ?, out of the magicians hat ? No it comes from the council. Who runs the council ?, councillor Kent.

  10. Colin Barnes says “Gray64 and bernard87. So where does most of the forum money come from ?, tree’s perhaps ?, out of the magicians hat ? No it comes from the council. Who runs the council ?, councillor Kent”

    Let’s just put the record straight. For the past 2 years The Forums have not had any cash from the Council. The council do provide their Public Liability Insurance and their websites, this amounts to about £14k per year. In return in 2010 the 20 Forums across Thurrock brought into Thurrock over £500k from outside funding to be spent in the community and contributed over 24,000 hours of voluntary work, @ the minimum wage this relates to the equivalent of over another £150k. So for an investment of £14k Thurrock Council received £650k, a return of over 4000%. So Mr Barnes that is where the money REALLY comes from.

  11. A fantastic post Really!

    I’d also like to add that the councils £14k investment in the forums probably stems, in part, from our council tax, while other council money comes from the government which we fund as taxpayers.

  12. I would also like to add that, certainly in my area, there are individuals who do not work through the forums but are putting pressure on the council to make improvements or to help somebody out and getting successes. It’s not always down to how much money anybody has or through which forum they are operating.

  13. Enforcement is a problem and regardless of political party there has been enough issues over years to merit a review. I Chair a Forum but also work with the separate resident groups / individuals on issues. Funding is very restricted but cooperation is growing and more information flowing but all consultations need to be looked at
    Current Council Consultations / planning applications information on
    Please review


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