Call for council to concentrate on its own needs rather than support London aims

Cllr Martin Kerin

A LEADING Thurrock councillor has expressed his concern that the authority is putting the needs of London and neighbouring areas above those of borough residents and businesses.

Cllr Martin Kerin, who is Labour’s shadow portfolio holder for regeneration on the council has spoken up about the Local Plan Issues and Options (Stage 2) Report of Consultation, which was presented to the Planning, Transport, Regeneration Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which he chaired tonight, (9 October).

Section 2.14 of the consultation states: “The Council should consider the need to plan to accommodate any unmet housing and employment needs arising from London and neighbouring South Essex authorities through the Duty to Cooperate and emerging South Essex JSP”.

The JSP is a body involving Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-On-Sea, Thurrock and Essex County councils. Its aim is “to work together to make South Essex greater through sharing resources, lobbying government and collaborating with business and residents.”

Cllr Kerin says that any local planning framework involving the council should be ‘Thurrock-Centric’ with the core focus being on how the Local Plan will benefit Thurrock’s existing residents, communities and businesses.

He adds: “Any accommodation of London’s or Essex’s unmet housing needs must be justified through how Thurrock, as a whole, will benefit as a result. This is why it must be Thurrock-Centric.

“This Local Plan is a once-in-a-generation chance to shape the long term future of our borough. At every stage, we will judge every line and dot of this plan with this simple question: how will the people of Thurrock benefit from this?”