The people turned up…

A protest against the proposed closure of the Thameside Complex in Grays took place on the evening of Wednesday 22.9 outside the Thurrock Council Civic Offices. The Thameside houses a theatre, the central library and a local museum. It means a lot to many people in the borough for a range of reasons. That much was clearly evident on the protest.

The protest was originally scheduled to coincide with a full meeting of Thurrock Council. The aim was to noisily but peacefully communicate to the ruling group councillors the strength of feeling about the proposed closure of the Thameside. That meeting didn’t take place and here’s why: How very f***ing convenient… When the Save YOUR Thameside group heard that the council meeting wasn’t going ahead, they decided to go ahead with the protest anyway. That was the right call to make…

We estimated that well over one hundred people turned up. They were a diverse mix, who all felt strongly about what the Thameside means to them and its place in the community. Among the protesters were the kids who use the theatre for dance and drama – they made plenty of noise on the picket outside the Civic Offices and kept it up while we marched through Grays town centre towards the Thameside Complex! Opposition Labour councillors also took part in the protest.

It was pointed out by a number of people at the protest that with all the activity that takes place at the Thameside Complex, it effectively belongs to the people of Thurrock. This ranges from the dance and drama where people find the means and confidence to express themselves on the stage. It takes in the library which stores a wealth of knowledge and information. The library also provides a place for young people from crowded / volatile households to find some peace and quiet to study or just read. The museum tells the ever changing story of Thurrock. It’s our theatre, library and museum. It’s not a mere asset for the bean counters at the council to dispose of.

Save YOUR Thameside have plenty of footage from the protest already up on their Facebook page. They would love it if you could share it far and wide, particularly to your local councillor if they happen to be on the Tory ruling group. Just to show them what they missed…

The next full meeting of Thurrock Council is scheduled for October 27th. Save YOUR Thameside have said they will be there with another protest. We will be there in solidarity with them. This fight is far from over…

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