Councillors 1 – Planning Officers 0

The long running saga over the botched ‘re-development’ of the railway station at Stanford-le-Hope continues…however, there’s an interesting twist… It looks as though councillors on the planning committee at Thurrock Council have stood up to the senior officers responsible for delivering revised plans for the re-build: Council left Byrned as rail station planning progress is put on hold by unhappy councillors.

Members of the planning committee have been asked to consider proposals for the re-build in two parts. These are the main station building to the south of London Road and the bus turning, pick up/drop off point to the north of the road. The councillors on the committee, wary of being bounced into accepting another flawed scheme, refused to bow to pressure from the officers and said they wanted to make a decision on the project as a whole. Well done to the councillors who voted to defer with particular mention for the Homesteads councillor, Gary Byrne (Ind) who was adamant that the plans should be properly worked out and presented as a whole.

Obviously this is going to mean a further delay in any work starting on re-building the station while the plans are being prepared. To be honest, after spending two years using what feels like a demolition site, waiting a few more months to get the plans absolutely right before work commences is a price worth paying. One positive that can be taken from this is that councillors on the planning committee are prepared to take a stand against senior officers and hold them to account.

What would be great is if the senior officers responsible for this debacle admitted their failings and offered the staff and users of the station a full, unreserved apology. However, we won’t be holding our breath waiting for that apology…

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