A short while ago, we put up this post about the latest phase of consultations being run by Highways England on the proposed Lower Thames Crossing: Highways England and manners – two mutually exclusive concepts. In that post, we noted the lack of any in person consultation events in Chadwell St. Mary and Stanford-le-Hope. Given that the approach road to the crossing will pass right round the back of Chadwell St. Mary, we and many other people were appalled by the lack of an in person event there.
Well, it seems as though a lot of people have been putting Highways England under pressure to add more in person consultation events in communities that would be directly and indirectly affected by the Lower Thames Crossing. Obviously, there’s only so much flak even an outfit as insensitive as Highways England can take before they realise that in the interests of public relations, they have to bow to the wishes of the residents. Hence the two extra events featured in the graphic above. This is how it was covered by Thurrock Nub News: People power forces Highways England to add consultation meetings in town it missed out.
Thanks are due to the Thames Crossing Action Group, Cllr. Gary Byrne (Homesteads), Cllr. Sara Muldowney (Chadwell St. Mary), Thurrock Nub News and others who put Highways England under pressure. It shows that people power can pay off.
We’ll be attending the in person event in our town. Okay, it’s no secret that generally, we’re pretty cynical about consultations. We’re pretty cynical about this one to be honest as it seems we’ll be getting a pre-prepared range of options to help them ‘refine’ their design process and all we can do is try to pick the least worst.
However, not bothering to turn up to any of these consultations is defeatist as it will send out a signal to Highways England that they’ve won and they can carry on literally bulldozing their project through our borough. They’re opportunities to ask some very pointed questions and continue to put them under pressure. How residents wish to do that is entirely down to them:)