Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 25th July, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item

The Mayor invited Reverend Canon Darren Barlow to lead those present in prayer.


Councillor J Kent enquired how Councillor Baker was following the incident that took place in Ockendon last week. Councillor Spillman stated Councillor Baker and former Councillor Chris Baker were recovering well from the shock of the injuries suffered from this incident and thanked Members for their concern.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 27 June 2018.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the Meeting of Council held on the 27 June 2018 were approved as a correct record.


Councillor Redsell commented on Page 31 of the Appendix A to the Council Minutes the word Beckshill should read Bexhill.


Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Mayor is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


No items of urgent business were received.


Declaration of Interests

To receive any declaration of interests from Members.


No declaration of interests were received.


Announcements on behalf of the Mayor or the Leader of the Council


The Mayor invited all those present to reflect on and remember Thurrock’s fallen of World War One.


The Mayor announced as part of her Charity the Community Chest Charity was Giving for Thurrock she announced their 3 fund raising events and encouraged members to attend.


Afternoon Tea with the Mayor to be held on the 14 September 2018 where invited guests would be asked to wear either a hat or a fascinator.


A Charity Ball to be held on the 16 November 2018 at the Orsett Hall.


A Civic Dinner to be held on the12 April 2019 at the Civic Hall which will be a grand black and white ball.


The Mayor stated she contributed each month to the Pay Day Giving Scheme and encouraged all members to sign up so members could start to Give for Thurrock in Thurrock.


The Mayor announced a “Giving for Thurrock Day” to be held on the last Friday of March each year to have a day of raising funds for small charities in Thurrock and for the good of Thurrock residents to come together as a community.


The Mayor sadly announced the passing of former Councillor Diane Revell who would be remembered for her contributions to the Council and in the Chamber and had sent condolences to her family.


Councillor Gledhill extended his condolences and stated it had been a great loss when Diane Revell had retired and it was an even greater loss now.


Councillor Gerrish reflected on regular Member stories told of their high regard of Diane Revell and extended the Labour Group’s condolences.


Councillor Little spoke of her memories and admiration for Diane Revell and how this had been a sad time.


Councillor Redsell echoed comments made by other Members and how Diane Revell had been passionate and gave good advice when the Mayor’s seat was passed to Diane Revell from Councillor Redsell.


The Mayor thanked Members for their kind words.


The Leader of the Councillor, Councillor Gledhill, stated Cabinet had allocated £250K to tackle anti-social behaviour in the borough with action being taken to let those offenders know that this behaviour would not be tolerated. Anti-social behaviour in the borough was a whole community issue requiring a multi-agency approach to help prevention and enforcement. The Leader highlighted:


           A funded specialist anti-social behaviour officer will now work alongside the existing housing anti-social behaviour team.


           CCTV would be improved on the Garrison Estate and Derwent Parade.


           Youth Club developments made to help youths at risk to be diverted from bad behaviour.


           Community Events to reassure residents and to create a united community to encourage issues to be reported.


           Funding for the Report It Campaign to encourage residents to report anti-social behaviour and crime on-line.


           Thurrock Council to equip Essex Police with equipment to track down those users that use quad and motor bikes inappropriately in the borough as part of the bike nuisance operation Sacrifice.


           Funding for Thurrock Council and Essex Police to undertake  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 39 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:


A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be viewed under the relevant meeting date at and are attached at Appendix A at these minutes.


Petitions from Members of the Public and Councillors

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2(Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.


The Mayor informed Members that in accordance with the Council’s petition scheme, the requisite notice had been given by 3 Members who wished to present a petition at the meeting.


Councillor Hebb presented a petition on behalf of St Joseph’s School in Stanford le Hope in relation to Highways matters.


Councillor Jefferies presented a petition on behalf of Bruyns Court and Deveron Gardens in relation to Anti-Social Behaviour.


Councillor J Kent presented a petition on behalf of Elm Road Park in relation to the decision to sell the land.


Petition Update Report pdf icon PDF 40 KB


Members received a report on the status of those petitions handed in at Council Meetings and Council Offices.


Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies, Statutory and Other Panels

The Council are asked to agree any changes to the appointments made to committees and outside bodies, statutory and other panels, as requested by Group Leaders.


The Mayor enquired whether Group Leaders wished for any changes to be made to the appointments previously made to Committees and outside bodies, statutory and other panels.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor Gledhill, informed the Chamber he wished to make the following changes:


For Councillor Redsell to be appointed as member of the Licensing Committee to replace Councillor Kelly.


For Councillor Redsell to be appointed as member of the Police Fire and Crime Panel to replace Councillor Anderson.


For Councillor Redsell to be appointed as member of the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee to replace Councillor Maney.


Councillor Gerrish, Leader of the Labour Group, informed the Chamber he had no changes.


Councillor Spillman, Leader of the Thurrock Independent Group, informed the Chamber he had no changes.



Local Plan Issues and Options (Stage 2) pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Additional documents:


Item was withdrawn at the meeting.


Report of the Cabinet Member for Central Services pdf icon PDF 273 KB


Councillor Collins, Portfolio Holder for Central Services, presented his Portfolio Holder report and stated it was a privilege to be presenting his first report. Councillor Collins thanked Councillor Huelin for her help and support and appreciated the help provided by Members and Officers. Councillor Collins updated Members on the following achievements:


           Changes to the digital strategy with the completion of a number of technology projects and application upgrades formed part of the overall Council Digital Strategy

           Newly refurbished customer services face to face and reception area, to reflect key principles in the Customer Services and Digital Strategies to help residents self-serve online while continuing to provide support for the most vulnerable

           Continued transformation in the digital interaction with residents via other Council’s web portal

           100% of new benefit claims are made online

           11,400 followers on Twitter

           4,410 followers on Facebook

           13,000 subscribers of e-newsletters which includes Business Buzz and Thurrock Careers

           Reversing an agency level of 85% to a permanent officer level of more than 85% by October 2018

           The shared legal service with the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham had been discontinued from March 2018

           The Council’s quality performance had been recognised externally with the reaccreditation of the Customer Contact Association in June 2018.


Councillor Collins stated Members should encourage residents to report issues on line.


Councillor Gerrish thanked the Portfolio Holder and welcomed Councillor Collins to his new role. Councillor Gerrish questioned whether there was a problem with communications and the way consultations had been undertaken particularly for the selling of the land at the Thurrock Rugby Ground. Councillor Collins stated work continued on improving communications and this was work in progress.


Councillor Okunade thanked the Portfolio Holder for the report and questioned whether there were any underlying problems with the increase of upheld complaints. Councillor Collins agreed to provide a written response as this information was not to hand.


Councillor Redsell stated it would be good practice to continue to publish a contact number of the Council for those residents with no access to IT equipment. Councillor Collins stated this had been taken on board and a contact number would be added to the Council’s web site.


Councillor Worrall was pleased the Equality and Diversity scheme had been refreshed and questioned whether a report would be presented at Council. Councillor Collins stated work was being undertaken on this report and would be presented as soon as possible.


Councillor J Kent questioned the cost of the new reception area and why no key spends over £500 appear on the Council’s web site. Councillor Collins stated this information was not to hand and would provide a draft written response.


Councillor Collins thanked Members for their comments and the Council had come a long way with making changes to services but still had a long way to go with 2018/19 being the year of bedding of those new services. This year’s objective was to get the Council’s services delivered to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance pdf icon PDF 137 KB


Councillor Hebb, Portfolio Holder for Finance, presented his Portfolio Report and stated it was a privilege and a pleasure to announce the services provided by Thurrock Council would be safe for the next 4 years with Thurrock Council having a balanced budget since 2016. Councillor Hebb updated Members on some of those services:


           Weekly Bin Collections

           Improved Grass Cutting

           Street Cleaning

           Pot Hole Filling

           Protect the Elderly

           Council Tax Exemptions

           Affordable Housing

           Saving Hospital facilities

           Clean It Cut It Fill It


Councillor Hebb stated the General Fund Budget had been increased by 38%, from £8m to £11m. The Administration had overseen spending of ear-marked reserves which funded projects such as school building and other capital plans with the review of reserves to ensure the Council did not sit on Council tax payers money for no reason. The work would start with the Fair Debt Summit in September 2018 and Members and Head Teachers from the borough would be invited.


Councillor Hebb stated the Council Spending Review the concentrated on reviewing bottom-up services was working.


Councillor Gerrish thanked the Portfolio Holder for the report and highlighted the need for the Council to earn external income and questioned what were the biggest, newest opportunities to generate revenue that are currently being explored by the Council. Councillor Hebb stated one of the commercial teams was the Fraud Team who also worked outside the Council where a return of £24.5 million had been generated over past years. Achieving a 2 to 1 return that would enable monies to pay for current services and help the Council to reinvest.


Councillor Spillman stated the sustainability was being achieved by taking money out of pockets of residents by increasing council tax. Councillor Spillman asked for guarantees no further increase in budgets to further increase council tax. Councillor Hebb stated a motion on the Council Spending Review had been agreed with the ambition to reduce tax burden on residents. A review looking at bottom-up services was currently being undertaken and once complete would be presented where discussions could take place.


Councillor Duffin stated he had supported the Council Spending Review Motion but questioned when Members would see progress and the long term investments. Councillor Hebb stated the Investigation Strategy had been agreed unanimously and the Council’s Spending Review agreed and discussed across party. Cabinet continued to look at investments and discussions would take place.


Councillor Jefferies asked what further assurances could be given that the Council’s finances are in a safer place. Councillor Hebb stated a Peer and an External Audit Review had taken place where the Council’s pathway had been outlined and developed. With this year’s initial audit report expected to announce an unqualified position on the Council’s financial health.


Councillor G Rice stated on the street cleaning item and suggested Councillor Hebb visited Chadwell St Mary to look at the issue of overgrown weeds and blocked gullies particularly along the A1306. Councillor Hebb stated he was aware  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 49 KB

In accordance with Chapter 2, Part 2 (Rule 14) of the Council’s Constitution.


The Mayor informed the Chamber that 1 question to the Leader had been received, 1 question to the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee and 9 questions to Cabinet Members.


A copy of the transcript of questions and answers can be found at Appendix A to these minutes.


Reports from Members representing the Council on Outside Bodies


Councillor Abbas updated Members on his recent visit to the Citizens Advice Bureau where he had been provided with a briefing and been introduced to volunteers and employers. Following the Thurrock Citizen Advice Bureau merge with Basildon in April 2018 the annual funding had been cut significantly from £150k to £50k. Some external funding had been provided by various outside organisations. With these cuts it was becoming harder for them to manage and there were concerns the budgets had been cut but rents would be increased in 2019/20. Due to these cuts 8 to 9 residents are turned away each day, with the Citizens Advice Bureau Chief Executive having concerns over the funding. Councillor Abbas had also been invited to attend the Board in Basildon on the 8 August.


Councillor G Rice attended an Anglian (Eastern) Regional Flood Defence Committee where it been announced work on the proposed lock gate in Tilbury would start in early 2019.


Councillor G Rice stated Officers had engaged with Anglian Water with regards to Ottawa Road, Christchurch Road and Quebec Road who had experienced flooding and surface water flooding.


Minutes of Committees

Name of Committee


Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

20 February 2018

Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

13 February 2018

Cleaner Greener & Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee

22 February 2018

Planning Committee

7 June 2018





The Minutes of Committees as set out in the Agenda were received.


Motion Update Report pdf icon PDF 59 KB


Members received an information report updating the progress in respect of Motions received at Council.


Councillor Duffin stated he was disappointed with the response provided to his Motion presented at June Council with regards to Thurrock Council looking into contacting all sports teams/clubs. Councillor Duffin stated the response had been against everything the Motion was about and requested further action.


Motion 1 Submitted by Councillor Spillman pdf icon PDF 40 KB


The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Spillman and seconded by Councillor Duffin. The Motion read as follows:


Council requests that Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee urgently consider adding to it work programme at its next meeting on 2 October 2018 research into the feasibility of installing sprinkler systems in every high-rise tower block in Thurrock considering the extensive body of evidence highlighting the risks of not having sprinkler systems in such high-rise buildings.


Councillor Spillman stated the Motion had been presented in light of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower and with the agreement of all parties this work should be undertaken.


Councillor Johnson stated a proactive approach had taken place on the housing stock following the tragedy with a feasibility study being undertaken in late 2017. The Council was compliant and would continue to be so. Councillor Johnson questioned why Councillor Spillman, as deputy chair of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee had not raised this as an item on the committee work programme.


Councillor Gledhill stated his support for this Motion and as previous portfolio holder for housing a considerable amount of work had already been undertaken following the tragedy. Councillor Gledhill also stated the item could have been raised as an item on the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme.


Councillor Spillman stated the reason for presenting at Council had been Cabinet had previously ignored recommendations made by overview and scrutiny committees and felt it was an important item that required discussion. Councillor Spillman requested the Mayor moved to the vote.


The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.


Following a clear majority in favour, the Mayor declared the Motion carried.


Motion 2 Submitted by Councillor Smith pdf icon PDF 38 KB


The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Smith and seconded by Councillor Spillman. The Motion read as follows:


Thurrock Council considers going further than their statutory duty regarding publication of Traffic Restriction Orders (TRO) by publishing them on the Council’s social media and contacting residents through email where possible as well as the currently required public notices on lamp posts and in the local press.


Councillor Spillman stated that in Aveley only 6 residents had responded to a consultation on the proposed painting of yellow lines on every corner. This proved poor engagement and consultation had to be improved.


Councillor Gledhill stated his support for this Motion as it could change the current process. With the right way forward was to reach out to residents electronically and through social media.


Councillor Smith thanked the Leader for his comments and it was important the communication was right to take the Council into the 21st Century.


The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.


Following a clear majority in favour, the Mayor declared the Motion carried.



Motion 3 Submitted by Councillor Redsell pdf icon PDF 45 KB


The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Redsell and seconded by Councillor Rigby. The Motion read as follows:


This chamber recognises the valuable contribution that trees make to our local environment and calls on Cabinet and/or officers


           Where practicable to consult Members prior to the removal of trees from local authority land within their respective wards, and


           Where possible in accordance with the current budget to replace within a reasonable period all trees felled from local authority land including public areas; and


           To investigate availability of funding sources for the 2019-20 budgets to enable the Council to purchase replacement trees


Councillor Redsell stated that the Motion was long overdue and the Council should do more in future budgets for tree planting funds. This would improve cleaner air and encourage wild life. Trees should be replaced as they are felled and Members be informed of any such felling. Thurrock had some very old trees and there should be some provision for the next generation to enjoy.


Councillor Rigby fully supported this Motion and understood some trees had to be felled but where possible these should be replanted. Trees played a vital part in the environment not only for the shelter for wild life but they made the borough look good and bring some wellbeing into the borough.


Councillor Duffin stated his support for the Motion and commented on the amount of paper used to produce agendas for committees. Councillor Duffin suggested where 1 tree was felled 2 are replanted.


Councillor Coxshall stated this was a fantastic Motion and agreed with Councillor Duffin’s suggested where 1 tree was felled 2 are replanted. Councillor Coxshall referred Members to the Avenues in Stifford Clays where all the trees had been felled and requested Stifford Clays be addressed first.


Councillor J Kent stated his support for the Motion and it was the best thing to do but questioned why the Council were proposing to dig up the six acre park in Elm Road.


Councillor Maney stated this was an important motion that gave commitment the Council cared. On average 35 trees were lost each year and with no current policy in place to replace them. That funding be added to the budget would ensure these trees could be replaced and give back what the residents want.


Councillor Gledhill stated his support for the Motion and this would be a good way forward and to look at possible funding externally.


Councillor Watkins stated his support for the Motion and agreed communication with Members could be improved and would be addressed at the Cleaner Greener Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


Councillor Hamilton suggested a sponsor a tree scheme.


Councillor Redsell thanked Members for their support but informed them the tree plaques had recently been stolen from the trees at Blackshots which had been disrespectful and upsetting.


The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.


Following a clear majority in favour, the Mayor declared the Motion carried.


Motion 4 Submitted by Councillor Gerrish pdf icon PDF 44 KB


The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Gerrish and seconded by Councillor Kerin. The Motion read as follows:


Thurrock Council calls for our asset disposal process to include an emphasis on:


           The importance of informal discussions with current occupiers of land and local residents.

           Consultation with ward councillors.

           Identification of multiple suitable sites to provide genuine choice.

           A more open and inclusive decision-making process.


Councillor Gerrish stated the Motion was relative to the disposal of land where residents were only being made aware of consultations at committees. That a review should be undertaken to ensure every opportunity was given for proper consultations and proper notification be given.


Councillor Duffin stated his support for the Motion and expressed his frustration as a member of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee that Cabinet seem to be ignoring any recommendations that came out of overview and scrutiny committees. It would appear Cabinet do as they pleased and all other members are ignored.


Councillor Halden stated there should have been a consultation of ward members and had apologised for this. Councillor Halden stated sometimes decisions made would not be good for everyone but decisions had to be made for the greater good and major investments be made for school places.


Councillor Hebb stated the Motion was sound and respected the changes as it was important children get the best start in schools.


Councillor Fletcher stated the consultation and discussions should be taking place as early as possible in the process and the Administration appeared to be doing as they say and other Members can shut up.


Councillor Halden called Point of Order as he had not told the Opposition to “shut up”. There were 2 legally binding processes for Members and the Community to have their say.


Councillor Spillman stated it was the tone and stubbornness of Cabinet Members that would make the Overview and Scrutiny and Council meetings redundant and the Administration should be looking at ways to interact more with the other groups.


Councillor G Rice stated his support for the Motion and as a member of the Thurrock Planning Committee he was aware of planning applications being refused and those pieces of land could be used as alternatives for future school developments.


Councillor Gledhill stated his support for the Motion and hoped it was universal across the chamber. Policies would be written into the asset disposal process and discussions would take place on everything the Council undertake. Councillor Gledhill stated Councillor Halden had already apologised for there not being a consultation of ward members.


The Mayor called a vote on the Motion.


Following a clear majority in favour, the Mayor declared the Motion carried.



The Mayor wished Members an enjoyable summer.