Top council boss says sorry to residents

A SENIOR Thurrock Council officer has apologised to residents living in the vicinity of a troubled housing development site and guaranteed that the authority will act quickly to reinstate a public open space.

Campaigning residents forced a change of heart in access and development plans for the building of new homes on the Belmont allotments site in South Stifford. 

After many months on acrimonious exchanges between residents and a number of officers council leader Clkr Rob Gledhill stepped in and said the council’s position would change and a new access site would be found.

However, in the wake of that residents were told by officers that the change was not definite and the open space and access route might be as first stated. 

That provoked another angry response but interim director of Place Andy Millard has now intervened and made the following statement.

He says: “May I apologise for the way in which the email of 5th July was phrased and the impression it clearly created about how the Belmont Road site may be accessed. 

“Whilst access arrangements are being reviewed, the Council has made it clear to Thurrock Regeneration Ltd (the council-owned development company supervising the site) that the focus of that work should only be on Askews Farm Lane and not any of the other roads leading into the site, namely Parker, Belmont, Roseberry, etc.  

“As a consequence, the council will ensure that  all necessary reinstatement works are carried out on the recreation ground as soon as is practicably possible. 

“The leader of the council has been explicit in how the site should be accessed in responding to the concerns raised by local residents. I apologise again for the unhelpful wording in the previous email and I am happy to clarify the position.”