This article on Thurrock Nub News encapsulates the level of shittiness that residents in Thurrock have to endure from their council: Council goes tightlipped on controversial land sale. The site was originally going to be put up for auction at a guide price of £400,000 – one that many observers reckon was ridiculously low – but was withdrawn when a better offer was made, probably by a developer who couldn’t believe the bargain they were getting!
Does this sound familiar? Yes, because Thurrock Council have a bit of form when it comes to flogging off sites at knockdown prices to developers. The sale of the King Street car park in Stanford-le-Hope to Capital Land Partners is a classic example of this: Latest application for controversial town centre site proposes 47 new homes and is described as ‘significant’ to Stanford’s regeneration. Old habits die hard, don’t they?
The Argent Street site is in the Grays Riverside ward. The three ward councillors, Martin Kerin, Jane Pothecary and Tony Fish issued this joint statement:
“Our ward of Grays Riverside urgently needs decent council housing stock of the quality of Alma Court and The Echoes. This piece of land would have been a perfect brownfield site in the heart of the ward to do this.
“We believe that selling off this piece of land is a missed opportunity to develop council homes on a piece of land in the heart of the riverside of Grays. It is a shame that the preferred model for building seems to be local car parks and much-loved green spaces.
“We believe that the council needs to look at its land usage, and identify suitable brownfield sites to be turned into high quality, genuinely affordable council housing.”
At the time of writing, Thurrock Council have yet to respond to this statement. They’ve also failed to respond to a request from Thurrock Nub News regarding how much the land was sold for and what the buyers intend to do with it. The usual ‘issues of commercial sensitivity’ bullshit. Another old habit dying hard – a complete lack of any meaningful transparency. Suffice to say, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one…