AN angry Thurrock councillor has hit out at the Highways Agency saying it is “treating the borough with contempt”.
Cllr Cathy Kent, the chair of the council’s Cleaner, Greener and Safer overview and scrutiny committee made her comments after receiving a letter from agency chief executive Graham Dalton.
Speaking on Monday (9 March), she said: “On behalf of the committee I invited Mr Dalton – or someone from his agency – to come and speak at our next meeting, on 19 March.
“He not only turned us down, he claimed his team was in talks with our chief executive.
“That’s bad enough, but they couldn’t even get his name right, calling him Grant.
“What’s worse is that the previous letter the council received seemed to suggest they thought Thurrock was in Surrey!”
She said” “Now we know why the Highways Agency and their contractors have utterly failed to keep the A13 and the Dock Approach Road clear of litter and why we had to start doing their job for them.
“The agency simply doesn’t care; it is treating the borough with contempt. We just wanted to offer them a chance to explain in front of councillors and in public why they hadn’t fulfilled their part of the contract and they have simply brushed us off without so much as a by-your-leave.
“It is not good enough and they cannot be allowed to get away with it. Although this was the only item scheduled for our March meeting, I think we should still meet. We should ask our chief executive – Graham Farrant – to attend and explain what his view is – has he ‘been involved in talks’ with Highways Agency staff, does he know what they’re playing at?”
Cllr Kent said: “I saw a lane of the A13 was closed off between Grays and Lakeside ion Saturday during the day. I shall be asking our transport team if they are aware of what it was for. I will be surprised if they have been told.
“In addition I will be asking the committee to suggest what we can do as a council to improve this situation. The A13 and the A1089 are gateways into our borough and we don’t want them covered in rubbish. The council is not allowed to challenge the agency in the courts, we have tried to clean up and bill the agency for it – what else can we do?”