CAMPAIGNING residents have called on local people to help with a last throw of the dice to stop the controversial redevelopment of Thurrock Council’s civic offices in Grays.
And a petition has been set up which would force a new debate on the issue. https://www.change.org/p/thurrock-council-scrap-all-plans-to-spend-10m-on-new-thurrock-council-offices
Members of the Seabrook Estate Residents Association say they have been thwarted at every turn in trying to have dialogue with the council and have been completely ignored by council leader Cllr Rob Gledhill who they say has refused, several times, to meet them and discuss their concerns.
The scheme has been driven through by the minority ruling Conservative group, despite a motion by a majority of council members opposing it.
It only gained planning permission after officers refused to accept a vote by councillors to veto it and insisted it be brought back for a second debate – at which two opponents were unable to attend and council rules say they couldn’t be replaced for the second vote, which was lot by one vote.
Now the residents association has highlighted that reality is about to strike as local businesses leave the area.
In a statement they say: “It is with great sadness we need to report the Angel Café will close next Saturday. The adjacent barber’s will close as they have found new premises in South Ockendon and we have been told Dave’s Newsagent closes at the end of November.
“We shall still try and fight but looks like the council is moving fast to move businesses out and destroy our community.
“For more than a year we have asked for meetings with our MP Jackie Doyle-Price and council leader Rob Gledhill. Every time they have refused or the door was closed.
“We hope and believe there may still be time for public response to change their mind.
“Please make your feelings known about the new council offices by emailing Cllr Gledhill on firstname.lastname@example.org.”