THURROCK councillors are trying to save two centres marked for disposal in a fire-sale of property to help fill a £34.3million deficit over the next two years reports the LDRS.
Two motions will be considered but Thurrock council on Wednesday where campaigners are expected to protest against the proposed sale of the Thameside Theatre complex.
Mike Fletcher, Labour councillor for Belhus wants the council to reconsider plans to sell the Grangewaters Outdoor Education Centre.
In the motion Mr Fletcher asks the council to consider the centre “as a place where our young people learn the skills, values and understanding of their environment that our borough urgently needs; and as an essential training facility for local groups as diverse as schools, triathletes and the Grays yacht club and that this chamber urges cabinet to halt any plans to sell or close the centre”.
Lynn Worrall, Labour councillor for Grays, Thurrock, has called on the council to consider the concerns of residents over the future of the former Grays Adult Education College and Alf Lowne Scout Centre. Ms Worrall asked the council to call on cabinet “to bring forward a comprehensive plan for the future of the whole site and halt any demolition or development, on this site until that plan has been consulted on and agreed”.
Cllr Worrall said: “It is so important. We’ve got a housing development process for build new homes in Thurrock including this site but we were told we’re not going to do any more getting on with things without going out to consultation and informing councillors and residents. Then residents had a letter saying they were putting in another gate so the Scouts could access their centre during building.
“That road has a bad problem with parking. It was never meant for a lot of cars. Putting another access gate there is going to take up about six parking spaces. There is also a covenant on that land to be used for educational purposes but they are knocking down a school building which would be so much easier to convert and cramming in a load of small houses. The Scouts are worried about their future because they are within the red line of the development area.”
Cllr Worrall added: “They are just going round pulling down buildings. They pulled down the Youth Club in Tilbury and the Prince of Wales pub in Ockenden but places they could develop like Dell Road in Grays they sell off for tuppence.
“It’s the same with the Thameside Theatre. How many thousands of people have they upset with that?”
In response to the motions, council officers said: “The council is currently reviewing its operational estate to meet the objective of fewer building, better services and to reduce its running costs and the need for future investment. Grangewaters has been identified as an asset where the further consideration on whether it should remain as a core service is required.
“The council has a duty to consider best value in its use of resources and this would include the consideration of the future of the former Grays Adult Education College and Alf Lowne Scout Centre.”