Listen to the residents and act accordingly!

Here we are yet again writing about flooding and some utterly piss poor planning decisions that have exacerbated the problem. Decisions that involve allowing houses to be built on flood plains. Decisions guided by advice from the planning officers that’s not exactly consistent. When you get not exactly consistent advice, the decision making from councillors on the planning committee may not be as sound as it could be.

In the case of the proposed development on the marshes at Little Thurrock which has been causing controversy for a good few years, planning officers advised against allowing it to go ahead. This didn’t stop Cllr. Gerard Rice (Lab) from leading other members of the committee to vote in favour of it going ahead last year: Residents angry after councillors vote for controversial homes scheme in green belt: “No piece of green belt is safe in this planning committee’s hands.” (20.03.20) This was despite determined opposition from local residents, some of who already face issues with flooding.

Will this act (and others) come back to haunt Cllr. Gerard Rice? Here are two pieces to suggest it might… The first is a post from Thurrock Labour Left: Little Thurrock Marshes exposes the dysfunction of planning in Thurrock. (16.02.21) This is actually quite useful and worth a read. However, whether the author of this piece has chance of even getting these ideas discussed by the Labour Party leadership is a moot point… The second is comment on this from Thurrock Nub News: Reflections from the left cast a doubt over political integrity of veteran councillor. (16.02.21)

The point to take away from this is that yet again, the common sense and wisdom of local residents has been dismissed. Common sense that was on this occasion backed up by the planning officers. The councillors chose to ignore that and allow development on a site that is inevitably going to flood in the future. Little Thurrock Marshes will join a list of housing developments that includes Stanford Meadows and the water meadow behind Victoria Road in Stanford-le-Hope where future residents having to deal with flooding will not be thanking those who allowed them to go ahead.

Yet again, this is evidence that the so called ‘planning system’ we have to put up with is disjointed and not fit for purpose. This cannot be allowed to go on…

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