Stephen said: “I am disappointed that Thurrock Council have decided to continue with the first of their public meetings to discuss options for a new Lower Thames Crossing in full knowledge that I would not be able to attend and despite no formal consultation having been launched.”
“I fully support public engagement on this important issue. Indeed, I am committed to attend the second meeting on Thursday 25th February, when a formal consultation is likely to have been launched and arranged on a day when I will be able to attend.”
In addition, the MP has also expressed some concerns about the process, the most serious of which is the possible creation of a two tier consultation process.
The meeting planned to take place on the 25th January is more than likely, if not certain, to take place before the formal consultation is launched and therefore before we actually have the full information and ALL the options in front of us.
The proposals for a Lower Thames Crossing affect the whole Borough and as such every one should have access to the same information. This, combined with the fact that previously unseen options are likely to be presented, means that those who attend the first meeting will not have access to the same information as those who attend the second.
This means that some residents could be disadvantaged in this process and potentially treated as second-class consultees.
Stephen continued: “For five years we have managed to adopt a full cross party approach to opposing a new crossing in Thurrock keeping politics at a minimum and working together for the benefits of our residents. I fear that my non attendance will undermine this cross party consensus and politicises this whole issue potentially to the detriment of the battle ahead – this is something I am sure we all wish to avoid.”
Stephen finished: “I want to stress that I want to continue to work together with the Council to oppose more motorways in Thurrock to ensure we present a united front in the defence of Thurrock.”