AN extraordinary meeting of Thurrock Council has agreed the council’s response to Highways England’s consultation on the Lower Thames Crossing.
The three main findings and recommendations presented in the report outlining the council’s response are:
· the Consultation Scheme does not meet several of the national and Highways England’s strategic policy tests and design objectives, particularly relating to option testing, the delivery of economic growth and achieving sustainable local growth
· the Consultation Scheme does not make provision for the potential for housing and development aspirations for the borough and the wider South Essex area as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and emerging Local Plan
· there are specific design elements of the Consultation Scheme which require modification and/or further consideration by Highways England in order to meet the Lower Thames Crossing’s policy and design objectives
Cllr Rob Gledhill, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: “It’s hard to know where to begin when outlining what’s wrong with this half-baked scheme.
“Highways England have not yet even produced a Health Impact Assessment or provided detailed travel modelling, demonstrating just how little they appear to care about needs of the people who live and work in our borough.
“The Lower Thames Crossing as proposed will have a devastating impact on Thurrock and I encourage everyone who has not yet had their say to be sure to take part in the consultation before it closes on Thursday 20 December.”
Cllr Mark Coxshall, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, added: “The council has always been clear that we are united in our objection to the Lower Thames Crossing in its current format and this position has not changed.
“Our response to the consultation reiterates our long held stance that the proposed scheme offers no obvious benefits for Thurrock and will merely hack through vital greenbelt land, putting future development opportunities at risk and effectively slashing the borough in half.”
Cllr Peter Smith, Chair of the Lower Thames Crossing Taskforce, said: “We are united in our objection to this terrible scheme and our consultation response reinforces this position.
“The scheme in its current format does not bring any benefits to the people of Thurrock. Highways England need to go away and take a further look at the design so that it can incorporate changes to make sure that if the crossing does go ahead, we can make sure that we get the very best outcomes for Thurrock.”