THE Leader of Thurrock Council admits he is “a fan” of the Gloriana house-building project, but has two concerns.
Cllr John Kent told Wednesday (10 June) evening’s meeting of the cabinet he was worried local people did not yet grasp its potential – and that the council was not publicising it as a really innovate scheme across the country.
Secondly Cllr Kent said he did not believe Gloriana’s latest proposal to build over 80 homes on scrub land to the north of Belmont Road, Parker Road, Castle Road and Roseberry Road off the London Road in Grays had yet fully addressed local people’s worries.
He said: “I think Gloriana is a great idea and overall encapsulates much of what we stand for; it is something we should be very proud of and I do hope that we will soon start to see it properly promoted.
“I have no problem endorsing the recommendations in this report because I believe a solution to local people’s concerns can be and will be found. I do not want to slow down progress, but this site is now reaching the detailed design and seeking tenders for construction stage.
“It won’t be until the next stage that land transfer and funding commitments will be made and by then I expect to see more conversations and consultations will have taken place with people living nearby so their ideas and concerns can be fully explored.”
He added: “I was at a meeting with residents last week and a young woman said she and her teenaged son wanted to move out of their high rise flat, but there was no way they could afford to buy a home.
“She was just the sort of local resident Gloriana would be able to help, leading the way with shared equity schemes and the like.
“We have to tell people like that young woman, how it might be possible to buy a quarter of the house to start with and add another quarter later and so on as circumstances change.
“She had no idea we were working on this and she is exactly the sort of aspirational hard-working Thurrock person Gloriana has been set up to help.”
He added: “But Gloriana is far more than that. It is a housing developer with the specific aim of helping local people find new-built homes they can afford … locally, whether that’s renting, buying outright, or shared equity.
“Gloriana is a first. There’s nothing like it anywhere else. We should be shouting about Gloriana high and loud, far and wide.
“Gloriana is a council initiative which will, starting in the next few months, start to fulfil the aspirations of Thurrock people.
“And Gloriana goes beyond helping local people find local homes they can afford; it will also contribute to the General Fund – whether through rents or mortgages – easing the load on local council tax-payers too.
“You’ll take it from what I’ve said that I’m a fan.”