THURROCK Council has been notified this week that changes to the area impacted by the proposed Lower Thames Crossing – known as the ‘red line boundary’ has changed affecting 200 landowners.
Highways England is writing to three groups of landowners, advising them of the changes including existing landowners who are aware of the impact, new landowners included in the changed boundary as well as landowners whose land is no longer required.
Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Strategic Highways, Cllr Mark Coxshall said: “We at Thurrock remain opposed to the preferred Lower Thames Crossing route but I am pleased that our requests to be kept more informed of Highways England’s actions have not gone unheard and we are now being included in correspondence about significant changes.
“I recognise that the new ‘red line boundary’ may still change and the work Highways England continues to do informs the development of their plans. So early changes in the proposed route are good to see.
“However, the level of detail provided is insufficient – it leaves many questions unanswered such as how the road will look when built and I fear this lack of information could create more uncertainty and more confusion among Thurrock’s residents and businesses.
“I know the Council Leader Rob Gledhill will pick these questions up when he meets with Highways England and the other group leaders as well.
“We said Thurrock Council would be open with what is happening regarding the Lower Thames Crossing to ensure residents are not misinformed and that that our responses continue to express our stance on Highways England’s plans.”
Thurrock Council’s Chair of the dedicated Lower Thames Crossing Task Force, Cllr Peter Smith said: “This is exactly the reason the task force was set up. This will be an urgent agenda item at the next meeting and questions will be raised to the Highways England representative.
“The lack of detail is frustrating – for us and for residents. However, it is a move in the right direction that we have been told at least.
“In the information we received today, Highways England has also requested to hold ward member meetings in eight areas. This Council remains unanimously opposed to any crossing, and we’ll be discussing together how we intend to engage with any discussion with Highways England with a continued united front.
“The Environmental Impact Assessment is due for release soon by the Planning Inspectorate which will give an overview of the surveys and work due to take place.
“As chair, I will be meeting with the Chief Executive of Thurrock Council and senior managers to discuss the upcoming scoping of the EIA. The Lower Thames Task Force will be analysing the scoping report at its next meeting on 20 November which everybody is welcome to attend at the Civic Offices.”
For information on the Lower Thames Crossing, visit: thurrock.gov.uk/thamescrossing