One of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing contractors has submitted a retrospective planning application for a compound that has been in use for LTC related works for a lot longer than they have stated in the planning application. We have also seen photographic evidence that there is more to the application than they have submitted too.
Some of you will be familiar with the location as the old Coach Park for Lakeside, down by the Chafford Hundred Sainsbury’s in Pilgrims Lane, North Stifford.
This is what the site entrance looked like when Google captured it in July 2019. This is an interactive Google Map so you can use the + and – symbols to zoom in and out and click and drag the image to rotate in different directions.
This is what it looks like now. New fence, gate, barriers, gatehouse etc.
You can also turn to your left on Google Maps and see this view looking into the same site in July 2019
Then compare and see the new building that has been added to the site
The Planning Application can be viewed on Thurrock Council’s website – Click here to view Planning Application 20/00430/FUL
Notice how in the application whilst they state that it is a retrospective application (meaning they are submitting it after they have started work/change of use of site) they state that the date work or change of use started as April 1st 2020.
We had reports from residents back as far as late 2019/early 2020 that they had seen LTC vehicles on this site. We have email confirmation (that definitely pre-dates 1st April 2020) from HE that the site is being used as an LTC compound.
We can’t see any mention in the application of the building they have put up, or the high fences and gates, which clearly are all new, and were not there in July 2019 (as can be seen in the Google Map street view images).
There is however another retrospective planning application which is still listed as ‘awaiting decision’, Ref 19/01858/FUL, that appears to be for the security gates and was submitted in Dec 2019.
The cover letter with this application, from the same applicant states that they “were unaware that planning permission was needed for the gate“! Is this seriously an acceptable level of knowledge for a contractor on such a huge project?!
This application has no mention of a need for parking vehicles or for 20 staff that are mentioned in the main application that this update refers to.
The main current retrospective application states that they want to increase the staff levels for the site from 20 to 300. That’s an awful lot of extra traffic coming into an area that is already very heavy with traffic. Plus where did the original 20 come from as they weren’t mentioned in the previous application! Don’t forget Highways England announced late last year they would be rejecting any planning application for more than 250 houses in Thurrock due to the pressure such development would bring to the existing road network.
Let’s also not forget that we know from experience that HE/LTC contractors can not be deemed responsible in their behaviours or trusted in our communities. We have experienced them immobilising sites earlier than HE expected and without clearance, parking on our pavements/cycle paths, dangerously positioned super bright security lighting rigs glaring in drivers eyes. Plus of course the repeated non-compliance of the 2m distancing rule while we are in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Putting not only workers lives at risk but also everyone else’s and the NHS as risk. (https://www.thamescrossingactiongroup.com/all-ltc-work-should-be-halted-now/) We definitely have more than enough reasons for not wanting and trusting yet more of their workers coming into our communities.
When asked to describe the activities and processes which would be carried out on the site, the applicant states “Parking and storage of vehicles, plant, equipment and materials associated with construction of the Lower Thames Crossing.” Yet another example of how HE/LTC contractors seem to feel they are above the law. As we all know construction of the LTC would be illegal until such time as they have been granted a Development Consent Order (DCO), and they haven’t even applied for that yet, let alone been granted one. Something this contractor and HE/LTC clearly need reminding of again.
Clearly Highways England are not capable of selecting and dealing with contractors who can be trusted or know what they are doing.
Have your say
You can comment on the planning application the Thurrock Council website – Click here to comment on the Planning Application 20/00430/FUL.
You do have to register/log onto your account, but as we all know from experience there are usually log in issues with the site, so if you have any problems you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments. Deadline for comments is Thurs 14th May 2020.
Please remember this is not an opportunity to simply say you don’t want LTC, comments need to be constructive as to what is wrong with this planning application and why we feel planning permission should be withheld. To be perfectly clear they will be able to appeal right up to Government level on this, and there are procedures for these planning applications, but that shouldn’t stop us trying to hold them accountable, and show them up for not knowing what they are doing, and how they are trying to mislead everyone with the info in the application!
This is LTC related and they need to be held accountable and be made to follow the rules, not just keep doing what they want and then retrospectively putting in misleading and incorrect planning applications. Please do comment on this. Together we are stronger!
TCAG would like to thank
We’d like to thank Neil Speight from Thurrock Nub News, it was his article that first brought this matter to our attention – https://thurrock.nub.news/n/crossing-construction-firm-ask-for-site-permission—after-they-have-built-it-weekly-list-of-planning-applications-submitted-to-thurrock-council . Neil has also very kindly given us permission to use the photos he took of the compound. Thanks Neil.