Thursday, September 28, 2023

Tory bid over high-rise flats in Grays fails

A BID to “call in” and overturn Thurrock Council’s cabinet decision not to demolish three high-rise blocks of flats in south Grays has been rejected.

The council’s Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee refused the proposal to send the housing estate regeneration decision back to the cabinet on Monday (30 November) evening.

A report to the committee explained: “Councillors Ojetola, Coxshall and Halden called in the recommendations of the cabinet report”.

Their alternative proposal was: “The flats are not sustainable and do not represent 21st Century Britain, a clear strategy needs to be in place that sets out the flats can be brought up to decent homes standard or if they cannot a viable alternative option, such as demolition.

“No clear aims/strategy or plan for implementation is currently in place to provide better homes, which should also include the investigation that the flats need to be brought down to provide much better homes for Thurrock residents.”

Cllr Tunde Ojetola told the committee he was concerned the cabinet’s decision had -left local people uncertain about the flats’ future and there were financial issues around improving the flats.

Cllr Lynn Worrall – the cabinet member for housing – said she did not believe the case for call in had been made, that some of the financial issues raised by Cllr Ojetola were being answered later in the agenda, and that some people taking part in the consultation had been swayed by inaccurate reporting of the offers.

Further consultations with high-rise residents and the whole of Seabrooke Rise in Grays regarding the regeneration of the area would be taking place, she said.

Cllr Graham Snell also spoke against the call-in describing the cabinet’s decision as a “win-win”. Three local people also made presentations to the committee.

Members voted 4-2 to reject the call-in and committee chair, Cllr Cathy Kent, said afterwards: “We had a long and very detailed debate covering all the issues. I think a lot of misconceptions were also cleared up and the correct decision was made.

“Consultations about regeneration will continue with local people and we agreed later in the meeting that three-quarters of the brand new flats at Seabrooke Rose could go to people living on the estate and high-rises so those who wish to leave will have an opportunity to do so.”


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