Thursday, December 7, 2023

That was the week that was: April 1988

That Was The Week That Was – 1st April 1988

By Myles Cook

HERE IS the latest in our series of features looking back at some of the news items to be found in the Thurrock Gazette archives from 25 years ago.

‘Put Votes First’ Row on Homes

Tory MP Tim Janman told Thurrock’s Tory councillors to think twice before objecting to new housing developments as they may bring extra Conservative voters into the borough.

Mr Janman also attacked Cllr Chris Hammett for objecting to a Grays building project that would have benefitted the MP and local Tories.

Cllr Hammett had recently been ‘sacked’ from his Grays North seat on the council by the Thurrock Conservative Group.

In a letter to Dennis Dimond, leader of the borough’s Conservative Group, Mr Janman stated: “…I find it rather
galling that a Tory councillor is resisting a new private development in the Grays ward that will benefit both myself and ultimately your Conservative group.

“Gaining more new Tory voters is infinitely more important from our point of view that the sort of considerations that Mr Hammett concerns himself with.”

At a planning committee meeting, Cllr Hammett voiced concerns that construction traffic to the proposed development site in the Titan pit in Grays centre, together with construction traffic already in existence for the Chafford Hundred development, would cause residents big problems by swamping Hogg Lane.

Labour councillor Arthur Clarke, committee chairman, regarded the proposed site as cold and bleak and the wrong place for housing. However, despite misgivings, the project won outline approval.

In a statement, Mr Janman said it would be wrong to take his letter out of context, adding: “It was written in the knowledge that the committee had approved the scheme and therefore, presumably, the majority of members had not judged Coun Hammett’s remarks to be sensible objections.

“I would not have written such a letter before the committee had reached its decision to approve the development in principle.

“I found it galling that a scheme which was approved by a committee with a majority of Labour councillors was opposed by a Tory councillor.”

Mr Janman distanced himself from the Conservative Group’s decision to drop Cllr Hammett as a candidate for Grays North saying that it was absolute nonsense to suggest that his comments had influenced their decision.

“Who the party has as a candidate has nothing to do with me,” he commented.

Please Note: the incorrect wording in the quote from Mr Janman – “Gaining more new Tory voters is infinitely more important from our point of view that the sort of considerations that Mr Hammett concerns himself with.” (emphasis added) – is copied directly from the Thurrock Gazette’s news item.

Lorries Caught In Police Trap

A spot check at the Dartford Tunnel roundabout in Purfleet, co-ordinated by Essex Police, the Department of Transport and Customs and Excise officers, caught a large number of law-breaking lorry drivers, some of whom were guilty of horrendous offences.

Chief Inspector Bernard Beesley, of Laindon Traffic Police, who oversaw the operation, stated: “Some of the offences were quite horrendous. One lorry was over-weight by 68 per cent on its back axle – the front wheels were almost in the air.

“It could have caused a most serious accident and the vehicle was immediately impounded.”

Officers weighed 77 lorries, 44 of which were found to be carrying excessively heavy loads and another 23 vehicles were found to have mechanical defects.
55 drivers were discovered to be working illegal hours, nine drivers were using CB radios without a licence and one driver was found to be already wanted for arrest on another charge.

Other finds included illegally imported cigarettes and alcohol.

Private Power Station For Shell?

Government plans to privatise the electricity industry looked to be opening up the way for Shell to build their own power station at Shellhaven Refinery in East Thurrock.

Running on gas from a small field to be developed in the southern basin of the North Sea, the power station was costed at £350 million to build with a proposed output of 450 megawatts, 400 of which would be reserved for Eastern Electricity.

Providing privatisation ran to schedule, Shell hoped to start work on the proposed plant in 1991.

A spokesman for Shell stated: “This is something we are looking at, but it does all depend on privatisation.
“We have discussed the idea with Eastern Electricity and the plant is definitely on the cards.”

The scheme, in line with the Government’s White Paper on privatisation, was fully supported by Eastern Electricity.

History Re-made

Aveley High Street’s historic pub, The Crown and Anchor, virtually destroyed in a fire caused by a smouldering cigarette, was to be re-opening soon.

The brewery took the opportunity, caused by the tragedy in November 1987, to make alterations to the building alongside the major refurbishment.

The pub was to have a new side entrance and the bar was set to be repositioned and extended. A covered walkway was to be build connecting the pub with the function room at the rear of the building which was also to serve as a family room.

After viewing photographs of the fire damage, Mr Cecil Boorman, chairman of the licensing justices, said: “Anything that is done now will be a vast improvement.”

He said that he and his colleagues considered the brewery’s proposals to be of benefit to the customers.

Own Goal Boosts Athletic

Grays Athletic’s promotion chances increased due to an own goal from Leatherhead’s Gary Richards in a 1-nil victory for the Blues.

In a strangely subdued performance by Grays, several good chances to win by their own efforts were missed.

The first half was described as dull and fairly even but the Blues put in a much stronger performance in the second half, using their wings to better effect to improve their attacks.

The goal was scored after 54 minutes when a cross by Barry Fox was only partially cleared by Leatherhead’s defenders and Tony Boorman’s lob over the keeper saw Richards sending the ball into his own goal.

Grays Athletic’s promotion would be assured if Woking failed to win in their match and if the Blues were to be victorious over Boreham Wood.


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