Friday, March 24, 2023

‘Gagged” councillor blasts chair of planning committee

A THURROCK councillor and former Mayor has blasted the chairman of the Council’s Planning Committee for not allowing her to speak at a public meeting on a new housing estate in Aveley.

At last night’s meeting, councillors backed detailed planning proposals by developers Persimmon, despite residents’ protests – some of which were aired by local indepent campaigner Alan Field.

However, Tory councillor Maureen Pearce (pictured) wasn’t permitted to speak but today lambasted her Labour rival, Terry Hipsey.

She says: “Cllr Hipsey refused to allow me to speak as a member for Aveley & Uplands on this application because I was late in notifying him of my intention to speak. Unlike the former chair of planning, he decided to be inflexible despite the fact I informed him that I was ill for the last 10 days. I had also cancelled birthday celebrations yesterday so that I could make a few comments on behalf of residents on this.

“As he unreasonably stopped me from commenting I am sending the press some of my points.

“Residents and Aveley councillors opposed the development of the by-pass from the beginning. Sadly the former Secretary of State, John Denham’s decision not to call-in the approval to build by the Development Corporation effectively rubber-stamped the development.

“As much as I would like Thurrock Council to challenge the permission this would not stand up in a court of law and not without huge legal costs having to be borne by the Thurrock tax-payer. I will not encourage false hopes in my community that this development will be stopped.

“However, it is important that Thurrock Council ensure developers discharge their obligations set out in the reserved matters properly. I’ve looked at the reserved matters and my main concern is the remediation of the contaminated land. The history of the site as a gravel pit turned into a landfill dump is a story that Aveley knows well and which should have made the by-pass an unsuitable site for development however, I do not see attached any of the comprehensive analysis of the contaminants of the site or the Remediation Method Statement mentioned in the report. Planning councillors should be given this if they are to decide that this major issue is dealt with carefully and appropriately.

“For the peace of mind of Aveley residents it is imperative that Thurrock Council commissions a more thorough and transparent survey of contamination and give particular note of the area of the former pit where levels of contamination exceed the Generic Assessment Criteria stated in the report. I also think that as this is such a sensitive site Thurrock Council and developers should thoroughly brief residents affected by the development on those levels and the remediation plan. This is an essential matter of courtesy.

“It concerns me that officers of the council have spoken to a number of developers with designs on Aveley about section 106 money without being very clear about what exactly is needed and without any consultation with local councillors. I can see the same problem with this report. Education money is not deedicated to Aveley schools despite them being seriously oversubscribed and developers are being told to invest millions in building an unidentified community centre in the village without any one thinking about the revenue costs, staffing, repairs and running costs in the future – costs the council or other bodies will have to finance. It also ignores the fact that we have an under used community hall at Aveley Library and a run-down community band hall in Purfleet Road.

“Despite my campaigns in the chamber and in the community the blight of HGVs is also ignored. Stifford Road, Stanford Gardens and the High Street suffer most from mis-directed lorries thundering through Aveley and residents want better signage around this very development site and a possible turning table in Ship Lane to deal with this problem. In November 2011 I asked Cllr Smith for some section 106 monies from Aveley developments to be invested in tackling this very problem. This is ignored in the report.

“Sadly Cllr Hipsey has prevented me from explaining these issues to members but I want Aveley to know I am aware of their concerns and I will raise them elsewhere, even if I was barred from doing it in the very chamber in which I was elected to do it.”


  1. “Residents and Aveley councillors opposed the development of the by-pass from the beginning.

    She in fact voted for this development in November 2012

  2. Surely this developement can be stopped? Can the current government not just deem the site wholly unsuitable for housing and put an end to all this uncertainty. I certainly would not buy a house that was on a landfill site. I remember all the hassle in places like Enfield Island Village and Beckton when houses were built on unsuitable land throughout the 1990s.

    There is no need for this development, Aveley does not need any more houses and the green belt should be protected. The village does need enhancing and with a small amount of money could be improved without new housing.

    As I have said before the current LDF is a joke and if councillors did not agree with one aspect of it then they should have voted against the whole thing until a suitable long term plan for building in Thurrock was agreed.

    Again I urge Thurrock to look to Brentwood to see how they protect their green belt religiously and they have not got the advantage of masses of old industrial land which is ripe for development.

  3. We have hear a councillor openly admitting she was out of time to speak but then expects this planing chairman to break the rules for her ?. Is this woman the only councillor in aveley ?.comeback ex aveley councillor John “the dog”. At least when we had problems in aveley John was always there for us. He gave us hope and told it how it was, it was good having a councillor who told the truth.

  4. Bernard can you please tell me why Aveley does not need any more housing developments
    have people in that area stop having children and the people who already have children not having any more I’m sorry but it’s a fact of life we are going to need more housing developments as the UK population will inevitably increase I do understand your concerns with Greenbelt developments but there really isn’t the choice is there I would never put a bit of ground in front of the needs of people because in the beginning everything was Greenbelt and if you didn’t build on it they would be nobody living here or do you just mean it is perfectly all right for those who are already living in the green belt at the moment
    As for Mrs Pearce comments saying Cllr Hipsey refused to allow to speak she quite clearly states that she was late in notifying the planning committee that she wished to speak you would think if it was that important to her she would have followed the rules the same as everybody else or perhaps got her fellow ward councillor Wendy Herd to place the necessary paperwork into democratic services or was Wendy late as well or by the look of it she also could not be bothered like Mrs Pearce she seems quite a seasoned lady and would have known this, so to blame the planning committee for her obvious mistake seems to me to be untrue basically if it was that important to her or Wendy she would have made sure she had the appropriate paperwork in by the deadline instead of blaming everybody else for her own obvious mistake and then try to justify by blaming everybody else

  5. How. Could the three Aveley Councillors speak up against this development when the three of them voted for it in November the word hypocrites comes to mind how convenient the three forgot to get in touch with democratic services they had a week to do so, then blame it on another Member more white wash, and Maureen Pearce you couldn’t of been ill for ten days I saw you last week so another moment of memory loss you should make an appointment at your Doctors as its happened twice in one week , and you three should resign you totally. Sold at the Residents of Aveley how could you stand up and say you object you three monkeys did you even read what you voted for in November if not Why are you getting paid because your incapable of telling the Truth about this I Hope Alan Fields and Colin Churchman get in next year because they attend all meetings and Mr Fields well done

  6. The Conservative Party at Thurrock Council have something called a Political Assistant. Part of the job is to email Councillors and make them aware of Planning Applications, specially those that are contentious, and then help them draft any submission and press releases on the issue. Separately Democratic Services at Thurrock Council email a weekly list of Planning Applications to all Councillors.

    If neither Conservative Councillor for Aveley could put pen to paper (or send an email) in time they have nobody to blame but themselves for their tardy behaviour.

    All Councillors’s each year vote on the Council’s Constitution. These are the rules that Councillors abide by and cover such things as the rules for meetings. If Councillors want to rip up the very rules they voted on in the conduct of council meetings then meetings will descend into anarchy with Councillors making up rules or ignoring rules as they go along.

    Why is it that every other Councillor in Thurrock is able to submit their comments within the deadline but you Cllr Pearce and the silent Cllr Herd? Instead of throwing your toys out of your pram in future perhaps you should keep a closer eye on what exactly is going on in your ward. After all that is what you were elected for and you do receive substantial allowance to do that.

  7. Interesting article.

    I am trying to understand it in my head how a councillor ‘voted for it in November 2012’ when the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation had the planning powers to decide for this site and did so in 2010. Councillors can’t vote for something in 2012 that was given approval in 2010. That makes no sense.

    Hot press is right though, how can Cllr Pearce expect Cllr Hipsey to bend the rules for her? It was only Anne Cheale he bent the rules for and allowed to speak at Planning meetings despite her failing to give notice. Just ask the officers. It is a well known fact.

  8. Wetfish what don’t you understand these Councillors could have objected to this development in November forget the TTGDC BECAUSE THEY NO LONGER operate , some of them are employed by at thurrock council and deal with larger developments, so when they voted for this site in the LDF it was supported they could have objected about this particular sit but they didn’t furthermore they new that it was on the list to be heard by the committee , WHY SHOULD THE CHAIR BEND THE RULES AS YOU STATE these individuals claim money for sitting on their bums and doing nothing they had seven days and Maureen Pearce was at full council last week , why didn’t she put her objection in writing then, YOU KNOW WHY BECAUSE THEY COULDN’T BE BOTHERED its all well and good throwing a tantrum after the fact and try to look offended but alan fields doesn’t get £8000 a year but he tried for the residents and he always is their for them he doesn’t get a list to remind him but his always there to support the residents , this woman bends the truth and Robert Ray doesn’t even know what’s going on half the time and Wendy is just winding down because she’s leaving next year but I haven’t seen Wendy in aveley in the last two years so wetfish don’t blame the chair blame the aveley three and was Anne Cheale a large development ? no would it have cost the councils thousands like this application if it went to court ? No so facts wetfish


  10. Dear I smell like fish from the ankle up the three ward members concerned did not bother to try to intervene concerning this project after the TG was defunct there was plenty of opportunity to intervene and lobby about this project as you have commented since 2010 and the opportunity to do this was in November 2012 at full council when the focus core changes were voted upon this was the time when members could have refused to vote and made their opinions known and had some kind of power over the decision making process concerning this already agreed application Mrs Pearce seems to think that she can take this elsewhere what she means by that I have no idea and I think nor does she because quite clearly the council would leave themselves open to legal challenge so to tell the residents of Aveley that she is going to do something about this is quite delusional I do not mean to be derogatory to Mrs Pearce but do feel she is somewhat past it in terms of understanding the full implications but such is life your other point about the chair of planning not accepted her wish to speak on this matter and let us be precise about this it was not an application but a ratification of something that had already gained permission so Mrs Pearce constant ravings to constituents that she could do something about it are disingenuous at the least and aren’t worthy of comment and by posturing this position is quite absurd the truth of the matter is that all three elected members of this ward did nothing to obstruct permission in this matter Robert Ray says he against development in the green belt what did he do sit in the public gallery did he apply to talk on this matter quite obviously not more of a kipper then a member of ukip Wendy Herd because of deselection was notably missing from all proceedings.

  11. This development should of course get the go ahead. Where else are we going to put all the Romanians and Bulgarians next year. We need more flats in Thurrock as a matter of urgency and what better place than a landfill site.

  12. I had a young man knock on my door the other day asking me to vote for him next year in the council elections. No sorry son I am voting for Wendy herd. He then went on to tell me Wendy has been sacked from the aveley conservative party because she was lazy ?. well, when I heard this I asked him if he got elected whether he would be throwing his council laptop in the bath like he last young man did who represented aveley ?.

  13. Chucking the laptop in a bath won’t wipe the hard drives memory because council computers are all routed through the council’s servers so the IT staff could see every site the laptop visited.

    This tale is well entrenched in gossip at the civic offices.

  14. Looks like Conservative Leader Phil Anderson had a different take on the meeting:-

    Last night I spent the evening in a five-hour meeting of Thurrock’s planning committee, where nine elected councillors voted on some of the most controversial applications we have recently seen. Whether barn conversions in the green belt, housing developments on contaminated land in Aveley, or street markets in Corringham, these are issues which cause strong feelings and a huge amount of public interest.

    If you go back just a few years Thurrock’s planning committee was mired in controversy, with allegations of illegal decisions and shady deals being rife. At the same time, an entirely unelected Development Corporation was nodding through huge schemes with no sense of public accountability and often after only a few minutes of debate.

    Last night showed how much things have changed. The public came out in force and their views got a full hearing. Councillors debated the issues at length (5 hours of length to be precise). Every decision was taken in an open and democratic way after receiving proper advice. Not everyone will be happy, especially where there were strong feelings on both sides. But as I got home at half past midnight, I could be proud to say that “I was on Thurrock Council’s planning committee”. And that’s not something you hear every day.

    Cllr P Anderson, Leader of Thurrock Conservatives

  15. Oh Ed you do make me chuckle sometimes.

    The fact of the matter that hasn’t been picked up is that Cllr Pearce has been unwell. The Chair of the planning committee, Cllr Terry Hipsey, could have been a kind and compassionate soul, but alas, chose not to be. I am sure floor-crossing, Norfolk-based Cllr Hipsey is always a stickler for the rules…

    He does, however, have form for trying to silence Tory councillors trying to speak at the planning committee. He recently tried to silence Cllr Garry Hague at planning, despite the fact Democratic Services were well aware of Cllr Hague’s intention to speak. The recording of the meeting catches Cllr Hipsey’s attempted silencing, and the moderately amusing backtracking, in full. Poor diddums.

    Shelley – one perfectly good reason for councillors to be treated slightly differently to members of the public is the whole “democratically elected representative of the people” thing. Not that you, or Alan “Genocide” Field really understand that…

  16. “Bernard can you please tell me why Aveley does not need any more housing developments”

    First and foremost Aveley is a village. The whole point of the greenbelt is to stop places blurring into one big concrete mess.

    You need open land in towns and villages as it enhances the built up environment and provides leisure activities.

    The houses built are not for the needs of Thurrock but more to do with the government (like the last one) forcing houses on communities.

    None of these houses are social houses and will be put up for sale, take ages to sell and then will be sold on once people realise Thurrock is no longer a place they want to live.

    This development will devalue everyones home who backs on to it.

    Developers very rarely add amenities to their developments.

    Thurrock must be viewed as a free for all on land as planning here is so weak. (Basildon seems to be catching up with Thurrock here)

    There is enough brownfield land in the borough where housing could go so there is zero need for housing on green space.

    The land was a rubbish dump. Who in their right mind would buy a house on a rubbish dump.

    Maybe if the past government kept their eye on the population figures then there would be no need to concrete over most of England.

    I could go on…..

  17. Descamiados you do make me laugh. The three members for Aveley all had a week to submit their representations as to their residents objections and concerns(that’s residents Desso although I know you don’t go much on that sort of thing hey Desso). You know as well as these other fellow members you seek to defend that these three Aveley councillours are not only meant to turn up for their residents but also keep a close watch on all developments affecting the residents they are supposed to be representing. I am at loss to recall either Maureen Pearce or Wendy Herd attending any planning meeting in the last six months but yet I do recall them both together with Robert Ray attending the full council meeting in November 2012 when they all stuck their hands in the air to vote yes for this develop.ment in the core strategy focus changes. So where does little Mo have any argument that her democratic rights have been deprived or gagged??????? If she were to start thinking for herself and her residents she could have voted against this particular core strategy focus change or better still courted favour with Phil Anderson to put his weight of opposition behind this particular development and had it removed from the focus changes or at least had an amendment tabled to impose further conditions on the development in order to effectively thwart the proposed development from ever going ahead because of reasons of it ever being financially viable. I mean Phil and Garry Hague as far as I hear have no problems or shame interfering and toe treading in other people’s wards and stipulating what other development projects get the green light and those that don’t.

  18. Descamisados
    I’m sure quite a few people make you laugh in the same way you have in the past.
    Perhaps the people of Barking & Dagneham find you a lot more intreasting than those living in Thurrock ? You do tend to be very well informed as to what goes on in local authority but perhaps this is due to being a past member. Or may Be one who works within the authority? Neather the less perhaps you & of course some of the councillors should in fact read the constitution, then may be “just may be ” instead of whinging after the event councillors would know the correct procedure & indeed do what they are paid to do.

  19. Hi Sally

    No, don’t work for the council. I moved to Thurrock (Chafford) last year and take an interest in the news. The constitution is on the council website and I looked up the bit about planning. Cllr Hipsey definitely had the discretion to let he speak.

    Don’t think I’ve ever been to Barking and Dagenham, except passing through on the train – not sure what your comment is aimed at?

  20. I think everybody is aware she could have asked for permission to talk but what we must remember was this the case with Wendy Herd what happened to her presentation for her residents so you see two Conservative Ward members it is so important to one that she totally forgets to gain permission and then has the effrontery to blame the chair of planning for her own total lack of gumption in gaining that permission to make representation and then we have the other Conservative ward member who doesn’t even bother to try to represent the residents does anybody know Wendy’s excuse or could it be she has been deselected and can’t be bothered to do anything except to spend her £8000 allowance doing nothing surely if there was any truth that this member wanted to talk she surely would have discussed this issue with her colleague and ward member who could have covered for her what would have been better is that both could have got behind this issue and make a difference does anybody know why Wendy didn’t try I think this is the real issue

  21. Descamiados what don’t you understand Mrs Pearce was ok to go out a couple of days before the planning committee , so she could of just posted a little note in to the council or even sent an email to democratic services , she looked fine to me chuckling away , then again if she doesn’t understand the constitution would she even be able to use a PC it’s questionable , furthermore when I read the article in a local rag she said that the chair is wrong by playing by the rules I know she doesn’t follow them a lot but watch and learn Mrs Pearce and Mrs Heard there’s hope yet

  22. Poor Wendy shafted by her party and her replacement busy knocking on doors asking people to vote for him in a couple of years time. No wonder she has turned her back on the council. Treat people like that and they will resign from their party.

    Where did it all go wrong in Aveley? You had community campaigners John Cowell and Colin Churchman – both now campaigning against their former party. Not learning their lesson they now shaft poor old Wendy.

  23. Ed don’t talk about John Cowell mike will tell you off You know it’s against your Thurrock’s policy to tell the truth on this site especially when it concerns Tory members and their indiscretions regardless if it’s factual and back up with video evidence and lastly already been aired on this site


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