Councillor Coxshall presented the report that provided Members with an update on the preparation of the Thurrock Local Plan and set out the key messages received in response to the Thurrock Local Plan Issues and Options (Stage 2) Consultation Document which had been published for consultation in December 2016. Councillor Coxshall stated that between December 2016 and March 2019, 700 organisations and individuals had responded to the Issues Options (Stage 2) Consultation with nearly 3,000 separate comments having been made in response to the 40 questions set out in the Consultation Document. In agreement with the recommendation, the consultation and review would be published. Councillor Coxshall stated that it was critical to move forward onto the next stage of the plan making process to prepare a full Draft (Regulation 18) Local Plan.
Councillor Kerin as Chair of the Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee, thanked Councillor Coxshall for the report and asked for a guarantee in the Local Plan that Thurrock would benefit from helping other boroughs with their housing needs.
Councillor Pothecary thanked Councillor Coxshall for the report and was heartened to see responses being reflected in the consultation responses. Councillor Pothecary questioned how these responses would be developed and tackled and to ensure that any further consultation included the engagement of all residents.
Councillor Spillman stated the report was helpful but only told Members what was already known and requested that the Council be more vocal on national housing, affordable and social housing.
Councillor Halden stated with the impact from all 49 Members would enable the vision of the Local Plan to be moved forward and to ensure that the Local Plan was in conjunction with other Council policies.
Councillor Worrall welcomed the report and stated that there was still a long way to go and had been mindful of how housing would dominate the Local Plan and to ensure that when consultations took place that key workers were engaged with as key worker housing would be a vital part of the plan.
Councillor Redsell stated that the Local Plan across parties was coming together and stated that the River should be used more diligently which would take some of the strain off the roads.
Councillor Okunade commended where the Local Plan had got to but stated that the final consultation should be more balanced for the communities to ensure residents did not feel deprived.
Councillor Ralph echoed the comments made about the River Front and was disappointed this was not in the Local Plan. Although there was a need to build more new homes it was essential that green spaces, parks and open spaces were not lost. Councillor Ralph also stated there had been no mention of road links to rail networks and these should be considered going forward.
Councillor Little agreed that it was vital that engagement with communities took place and thanked those Officers who had spoken with her ward residents.
Councillor Coxshall thanked Members for their helpful comments and how well the Local Plan had progressed in the last 18 months. Councillor Coxshall briefly replied to Members questions and concerns by stating it was vital for all 49 Members to get involved with the Local Plan Group. That as plans developed consideration would be given to green spaces and would protect these for residents. The Council had a duty to co-operate and would work with colleagues to ensure that Thurrock benefited. That funding for new homes would follow but Thurrock had to show ambition. The Local Plan could deliver great communities and engagement would be undertaken with communities, residents and key workers. With work on the River front being discussed as part of the Local Plan Group.
That Council agreed the publication of the Issues and Options 2 Report of Consultation on the Council’s website and agreed the approach to preparing a new Local Plan.