Thurrock Community transport compromise found

A THURROCK Council review into the funding of Tran-Vol – the borough’s charity community transport organisation – agreed a compromise recommendation on Wednesday (29 October) evening.

The three councillor panel, chaired by Cllr Tom Kelly supported by substitutes Cllr Sue Gray and Cllr Graham Snell, heard from Trans-Vol’s Neil Woodbridge and John Paddick and Director of Planning and Transportation David Bull, as well as several people in the public gallery.

The panel was facing making a choice between three recommendations – cutting funding altogether, maintaining it at present levels, and a £50,000 one-off grant backed by a business plan from the charity.

Trans-Vol representatives explained the organisation would only be “bare bones” if the £50,000 grant route was backed and would leave Thurrock as the only local area without any charity transport organisation if funding was cut totally.

Mr Bull explained the council was facing having to make huge reductions in spending across all directorates and a particularly high percentage in his department as many of its services were not mandated by law.

He added that council-funded consultant investigations into Trans-Vol’s spending suggested it was expensive compared to similar groups, though he also said he agreed some positive changes had been made recently.

Both sides agreed that the loss of Trans-Vol transport to vulnerable people in Thurrock would increase the pressure on both adult and children’s social services and Mr Paddick confirmed his organisation would be looking at bidding for some home-to-school transport contracts in future.

Following further questions from the panel, they agreed to a compromise recommendation saying they agreed thast the one-off funding of £50,000 for this financial year is made available conditional on a business plan being provided to the council for the future of Trans Vol.

Secondly, that the Director of Planning and Transportation meets with the Directors of Children’s and of Adult Services to consider invest-to-save funding to bring the total up.

This recommendation will be put to the Planning, Transport, Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which would then make a recommendation to cabinet.

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