Morning all and welcome to the September Update
Wanted to provide an update on the current situation with the LTC.
I have met recently with Stephen Metcalfe who remains fully supportive and doing his best to work with counterparts south of the river to ensure that the right discussions are taking place with the new transport powers in the house of commons. Stephen has met with both RAC and The AA and also met with Chris Grayling the new SoS for Transport who had reiterated that no decision has been made and that its more than critical to ensure that the right decision is made.
Our team has been tireless in continually raising awareness throughout the borough, meeting local businesses large and small to discuss and gather support and also continually work with our own council to ensure we are continually fighting for what is best for Thurrock.
I wanted to be very clear however on a couple of points before that just to reiterate, As always I’m firmly aware my views are not shared by everyone but that’s the great think about democracy! If you care about something, do something…that’s what I’m doing so please be mindful of that and respectful to all on this page or if you feel the need to reply.
Fix the crossing
There has been a number of press releases recently that use the current and frequent disruption at Dartford as a reason to suggest Option C should be built ASAP. This is an incredibly short-sighted view. Firstly, nobody can mitigate against idiotic driving habits or unforeseen accidents, however without effective and robust traffic management in and around the current crossing nothing will help the congestion on local roads, including a £6bn new crossing within the same area. So whilst we all get distracted on what option is best or worse, make no mistake the number 1 priority of the government and Highways England is to fix the current problem in and around Dartford. This is critical and without it, and further spending would be a complete waste. The recent press release from Gareth Johnson MP for Dartford is accurate and wildly inaccurate at the same time. Something absolutely has to be done at Dartford, but building option C is not that answer and many years from now, him or likely his replacement will have their tail between their legs and be requesting more support when the current crossing is still not fit for purpose. FIX CURRENT PROBLEM 1ST! 14% reduction is not material, 1 in 8 cars!? Come on Gareth….
To our own council, we have worked collaboratively and effectively for months on the best way to fight this crossing proposal and defend our borough. However, it’s important I share with everyone some reservations I have regarding the stance of Thurrock Council or more specifically the lack of action. There are a number of press releases in support of Option C, yet since the list of 19 reasons why the crossing cannot be built in Thurrock, we had zero further communication from our own council, I have recently requested meetings to at least discuss options and a change of approach yet those meetings requests were rejected as the view is we should wait for HE to announce their preferred option, all the time opposition are strengthening their position and gathering support for further dumping on our borough. We have to be nimble and creative in our approach, we cannot keep this rope’a’dope mentality, let’s use the FACTS we have that prove Option C will not have the desired effect a throw a few haymakers!
We remain focused firmly on defending Thurrock and using every available means to continue to find the best solution. When a public group made up of everyday folk from around the borough are doing more than the collective group of elected officials on a topic deemed “critical to the borough” I feel it right to express the concern. I remain hopeful that we can continue to work together however and will continue to reach out to our own council for their support.
When the public announcement is made on HE preferred option, the fight continues.That is not the end, in fact, it is just the beginning. I do remain confident that the work we are doing is having a positive impact and that everyone involved in this project is firmly aware that the people of Thurrock are not going to sit idly by and let mistakes made by HE, previous, current or future governments have a material impact on the quality of lives of the current communities and future generations.