HAVING seen the latest Thurrock Council statement on the new council building, Cllr Lynn Worrall – one of the few Thurrock Councillors to have been allowed to see the new facilities- has issued the following statement.
Sadly, the launch of the controversial new council building was not all we were promised it would be.
On Wednesday 23rd March senior councillors, including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Thurrock, the leader of the Council and members of the Cabinet – as well as the Chief Executive and senior council officers attended a viewing of the of the newly completed council offices.
That same evening, I attended a council meeting, in those new offices that had been freshly declared opened that morning.
Before our meeting, I along with other elected councillors and cabinet members took the opportunity to view the long-awaited new council chamber.
It is fair to say that we were all very shocked to find the new chamber is much smaller than the old council chamber. You can see by a mere glance that there is simply not enough space for all 49 elected Councillors to attend full council meeting.
A careful count told us that there were just 35 places provided for the 49 Councillors. The room was completely finished and furnished with 35 chairs, 35 desks, 35 microphones and 35 digital screens.
The desks themselves are poor quality and whoever put them in had clearly left their tape measure at home that day. The edges were overlapping and some of the panels had been put in upside down.
Sadly, the finish of rest of the chamber was no better in my opinion – an opinion that was shared by every councillor from every party at that meeting that evening.
Following the meeting Councillors raised their concerns with the Chief Executive about the state of the building that was opened that day. Councillor Group Leaders tried to access the building in the following days only to be refused entry.
All access to the newly opened building is now off limits to all councillors including group leaders.
The Council statement on the 29th March responding to the upset from all parties on the state of this build said “testing and snagging is currently taking place as fixtures and fitting are finalised.” Strange considering the very public opening of the building just a few days previously.
I asked senior officers to confirm that the further works to fix the failures would not fall on residents’ shoulders. I have received no response.
A finished building was presented and opened with invited guests on the 23rdMarch. The back peddling and misleading information from the Council communications in the days following are a disgrace.
Over £10 million spent on a building that no one wanted that is now not fit for purpose is an outrage.
This shambles has confirmed what we have all known for a long time – if Thurrock Conservatives can’t manage the simple job of ordering enough desks for 49 councillors they can’t manage million pound projects, our money or our Council properly either.
Cllr Lynn Worrall
Labour Councillor, Grays Thurrock Ward