Thurrock Labour slam “unbelievable arrogance” of rugby field sell-off
THURROCK Labour Leader Oliver Gerrish has branded the decision to press on with the sale of a site currently used by the Thurrock Rugby Club for their youth section as an “unbelievably arrogant” refusal to listen to reasonable concerns.
At the June cabinet meeting, Tory councillors unanimously decided to dispose of the council site which is currently used by the Thurrock Rugby Club and has been described by them as vital for their survival.
The council’s Corporate Scrutiny committee, chaired by Councillor Gerrish, had earlier this month raised serious concerns about the process that had been followed. They were particularly outraged by the complete lack of discussions with the club ahead of the publication of the report.
Councillor Gerrish said, “We need a far more mature approach to major projects in Thurrock. It is not acceptable that we do not go to current users of council land and discuss the detail of upcoming proposals. It is not acceptable that reports put in front of councillors do not set out those current uses and the impact that selling a site would have on the local community. It’s even more outrageous that given the concern about this site, cabinet vowed to press on and hold the rest of the decision-making process behind closed doors.
“The concerns raised by me and my committee were fact-based and cross-party. That they have been brushed aside without so much as a delay in the process shows an almost unbelievably arrogant refusal to listen to reasonable concerns.
“Cabinet voted to go ahead on the basis of a letter, which allegedly claimed there was a deal with the club. However, this was produced at the last minute, was not distributed to councillors and was selectively quoted during the meeting. I have no idea what was in that letter and until there has been proper scrutiny of the discussions that have now taken place with the club and certainty around what can be provided to them, this process should not continue.”
Film of the meeting is below.