Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Councillors angry at chaotic approach to unauthorised travellers site

LITTLE Thurrock Councillor’s Rob Gledhill and Tom Kelly have expressed their anger at the lack of co ordination between utility companies and Council planning rules.

Cllr Gledhill said “A few weeks ago Thurrock Council managed to get a stop notice served on travellers who have pitched up on green belt in a matter of hours. However, a week or so afterwards, they dug a huge trench across a section of Malvern Road to have water and utilities connected to the site. This effectively cut off access to residents homes putting them at risk. When residents, Tom and I challenged this, we were told that the utility suppliers can pretty much do as they want. This makes a mockery of the enforcement powers of the Council, pretty much enables anyone to comfortably occupy unauthorised sites without permission and alienates the local residents.”

An application for five mobile homes, five touring caravans and associated day rooms has been submitted for the narrow stretch of green belt between Malvern Road and the Dock Road Approach. Since arriving on the site residents have complained that the occupiers have been cutting down trees, clearing shrubs and moving equipment on site to help prepare it for development without permission. Thurrock Council has issued a stop notice prevents further delivery of more mobile homes, building materials or developing the site.

Fellow ward Councillor Tom Kelly added “Residents, Rob and I are angry over the continuing actions of the occupiers if the site. We all share concerns that roads are being dug up, trees are being cut down and that the enforcement powers of the Council appear easy to circumvented. It’s utter madness that the Council can issue a stop notice, preventing works to take place, but the utility companies can help facilitate a nice comfortable stay whilst planning permission hasn’t been granted. Rob and I will now be calling for the rules allowing utility companies to link up supplies to be linked with authorised planning permissions. The current system is clearly disjointed and needs to be changed.”

22 COMMENTS

  1. Well Cllr Gledhill did vote that all the illegal Gypsy/traveller pitches were recognised as authorised when he voted for the Local Development Framework thus giving a green light to every Gypsy or Traveller to build pitches in Thurrock and eventually they will be authorised.

  2. Superman – I think you’ll find that at the site branded a cesspit, there was in fact a cesspit. When things are presence on a site, they tend to be described factually ie, Cllr Coxshall claiming the travellers were rearing unicorns is what would have been wrong, if not imaginative. If one doesn’t wish to hear their site being called a cesspit, one should remove the cesspit, then remove themselves in quick succession to find an authority than will tolerate it.

    Ed – You think you are so well informed, but alas you are not, my dear friend. I think you’ll find that the particular vote you seem to know so much about was moved forward a day – a day I believe Cllr Gledhill was absent, presumably due to illness or a Christmas holiday (?). But anyway, let’s not be bitter and starting throwing around accusations, or, as they seem to me, stones in glass houses.

  3. Forgot to add – some admirable persistence from Cllr Kelly and Cllr Gledhill. I am glad we have two dedicated councillors recognising this site is in fact illegal, rather than a Council who bends planning rules to suit a selective few.

  4. Hilda – or is that Rob in disguise? Not that I am suggesting that certain Conservative Councillors post messages on her under pseudonyms (hint don’t use Council computers to post as your IP address is Thurrock Council)

    I’m afraid he did vote for it (there were 2 LDF votes) and he was part of the Conservative Cabinet that voted for this and part of the Conservative Administration when the LDF was drafted.

    And Hilda are you having a laugh at your last comment – Industrial Chemicals and illegal lorry parks ignored by previous Conservative administration spring to mind. Although I am not suggesting donations from said company would have had any influence on the Conservative administration at that time or the local Conservatives having their HQ in a premises on Industrial Chemicals site that had no planning permission.

    Stones in glass houses and all that…

  5. I wonder how the Conservatives HQ would have functioned with no power if these rules were in place when the Conservatives had their HQ in a building with no planning permission? Rather hypocritical of the local Conservatives?

  6. And why no stop notice issued by Conservative controlled Thurrock Council when those well known Conservative party donors were developing their unauthorised lorry park that had no planning permission? A rather chaotic approach by the Conservatives regarding planning legislation. Perhaps the travellers should give the local Conservatives a donation and perhaps someone will turn a blind eye!

  7. I do not intend to give a volley of political brickbats. The posts above serve nothing for the suffering people of Malvern Road and Little Thurrock.
    I hope the council refuse planning permission for this camp.
    Currently we are piggy in the middle being clouted over the head with council ineptitude and bullying travellers who think it is ok to deny residents access to the their own homes.
    Trees are are being cut down and caravans are in the view of kitchen windows. Human waste is just dumped in the ground. These people ignore council rules and intimidate residents.
    I hope people can put party politics to one side and help the people of Malvern Road and Little Thurrock get their lives back.

  8. If I were a homeowner in Malvern road, I would be taking legal advice regarding compensation for the loss of value to my house due to this illegal development. I would also be demading action from the police to ensure these travellers did not illegally block access to my property. Perhaps a call to the environmental health team about possible contamination of land from human waste. Make it as uncomfortable as possible for these travellers and the council. Call the police every time there is an illegal obstruction. Call environmental health about the stench caused from human waste. report any intimidation by travellers on residents to the police and keep reporting it until they do something. Get some CCTV cameras set up and film everything the travellers do.

  9. Could posters please stop using this article as a political slanging match

    There are deeply affected residents here in Malvern Road who simply want the Council to uphold their responsibilities in providing a suitable place for these travellers to live. As residents we do not feel that suitable means sites where caravans are metres away from our back fences; looking directly into our windows, we do not feel that suitable means a site situated at the end of a very quiet, safe and unmade single road and we do not feel that suitable means building on beautiful green belt fields and woodland. It is time that Thurrock Borough Council stop playing ball with the travellers, that they start actually taking notice of the blatant breaches of the enforcement order and give us some faith that they will do the right thing.

  10. 175 objections on the public planning website and over 600 signatures on the petition against the site must surely mean something to the Council?

  11. charlie123
    2000 people signed a petition in West Thurrock, against a lorry Park in Oliver road, the company concerned ICG Ltd also made donations to local Conservative group which had offices at this company’s address of which Cllr Gledhill is a member, guess what , the lorry Park was included in the emerging core strategy and Cllr Gledhill voted at full Council for it to be included
    Why on earth do people listen to disingenuous people like Gledhill

  12. charlie123 – just look at the history of illegally built traveller/gypsy pitches in Thurrock.

    Thurrock has 18 illegally built pitches. Each pitch can hold a couple of mobile homes or up to 5 caravans.

    Thurrock also has 2 new illegal pitches in the process of being built.

    What did Thurrock Council decide to do with these illegal pitches?

    At a Special Meeting of the Council held on 21 December 2011, Thurrock Council formally adopted the “Core Strategy” of Thurrock’s Local Development Framework that decided to regularise and legalise these pitches – instead of taking enforcement action.

    They also voted for an additional 87 pitches to be built over the next 9 years in Thurrock.

    Is it any wonder that your neighbourhood travellers in Malvern Road think they can get away with it as the Council has failed to stop the other 18 illegally built pitches and has decided to regularise their existence thus giving a green light to anyone ho wants to illegally build a traveller pitch on the green belt.

  13. Ed.
    You make some interesting points. Can you tell me where the 18 illegal pitches are. I would like to compare them to the application in Malvern Road.

  14. If anybody else can help identify anymore of these illegal pitches please help. I would to judge their similarity with our cause.

  15. I did have a list when they were drafting the LDF. It identified all the locations. I think there was a site in East Tilbury, some in Tilbury and of course Buckles Lane.

    Will try and see if any of the reports are still online on the Councils website.

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