Dysfunctional

We’ve published a few posts on here about our dysfunctional, unfit for purpose local authority, Thurrock Council – here they are:

Seriously, you couldn’t make this up if you tried! – 12.2.22

The sorry saga of Stanford-le-Hope railway station continues… – 9.2.22

How much lower can Thurrock Council sink FFS?! – 9.2.22

We’ve done this not just to let off steam as frustrated, fed up residents but also to draw people’s attention to how the system of local governance we have to put up with is failing us. We’ve done this by drawing attention to where Thurrock Council has screwed up and then gone on to compound the problem by failing to communicate with local residents and some of the local media.

This is the latest example of how the council have yet again failed to keep people informed about what is going on with an over-budget and behind schedule infrastructure project – the A13 widening: Pedestrians in fear after pathways are closed for weeks – 13.3.22. https://thurrock.nub.news/n/pedestrians-in-fear-after-pathways-are-closed-for-weeks The A13 widening is being overseen by Thurrock Council who are a unitary authority. The aim of the widening is to accommodate the extra traffic that’s being generated by the expanding superport at London Gateway and neighbouring logistics and energy production facilities.

There have been regular closures of the A13 and also at times, the A1013 which runs parallel to it at weekends and sometimes at night during the week to allow the widening work to take place. Fair enough, no infrastructure project is ever going to be completed without some disruption. However, when we attended a public consultation about this a good few years ago, we remember being promised that the number of closures would be kept to an absolute minimum. Suffice to say, we’ve lost count of the number of closures that have been implemented!

The latest debacle involves the closure of parts of the pedestrian footpaths alongside the A1013 as part of the re-alignment works at the Orsett Cock junction on the A13. This is next to a fair sized residential area. One of those areas where owning a car is pretty much a necessity. However, residents there don’t always use their cars because for short journeys, they prefer to walk and get a bit of exercise in the process. Also, some residents use the footpaths as part of their recreational exercise walks.

The footpaths have been closed for five weeks forcing residents to have to walk along a coned off section of a very busy road. Part of the circuitous route they’re obliged to take involves crossing the A1013. That’s risky, particularly if you’re elderly and not that quick on your feet. That’s five weeks of taking their lives in their own hands.

When a local media outlet, Thurrock Nub News, asked Thurrock Council why this was happening, they couldn’t get an answer from them. When Thurrock Nub News approached the contractor, Kier, to get some answers they were told that the council had instructed Kier to not issue any statements about the work to the local media.

So, the residents have had to tolerate this situation for five weeks and because both Thurrock Council and Kier are remaining tight lipped about the situation, they’ve no idea when the footpaths will be fully open again. This is an unacceptable failure to communicate with residents and explain to them exactly what’s going on and why it’s taking so long. Because the council are failing to adequately engage with residents, they’re not aware of just how risky the footpath closures are.

It’s the residents who pay for Thurrock Council through their taxes. It seems you can pay but you have no say. Thurrock Council along with many other local authorities seem to have forgotten that they’re supposed to be the servants of the people who pay their allowances and salaries. Well, in an ideal world anyway! You don’t need us to tell you that the world is far from ideal. When a local authority consistently fails to communicate with their residents and some of the local media, it’s further evidence that they’re not fit for purpose. We can’t go on like this. We need to start with a blank piece of paper and work out how we want our local communities to be run for our benefit and well being. Then we need to start fighting to bring that vision to reality.

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