The vandalised interior of the former Thurrock Adult Community College building in Richmond Road, Grays

Before it was relocated to a few rooms at the Grays campus of the South Essex College, the Thurrock Adult Community College was housed in it’s own building at the top end of Richmond Road. Since the college was relocated, the building in Richmond Road has been left empty, and by all accounts, not properly secured. As you can see from the image above, it has been subjected to break ins and vandalism. The Tory ruling group on Thurrock Council want the site levelled so a developer can build homes on it. This has caused a row between the Labour ward councillors and the ruling group: Councillors clash over college site and its future. Pictures show vandalism inside and top Tory says the ‘faster it is knocked down the better’.

It’s the same old story that’s’ repeated across a lot of local authorities, regardless of their political make up. The council vacate a building and then leave it to rot with inadequate security that allows vandalism to become endemic. Hey presto, you end up with a situation where residents are begging for the building to be demolished and the site developed – job done… Cynical? Us? Yes, and with good reason!

That looks to be the point the site at the top end of Richmond Road has reached. The building has been allowed to decay and get smashed up to the point where bringing it back into some kind of community use would be too costly for a cash strapped council. Demolition and re-development now look to be the only realistic options. The problem is that it’s an awkward site and there will be issues with demolition and building traffic. Once the new homes are built, there will be issues with extra traffic from the new residents.

What’s aggravating the situation is that Thurrock Council are going about this in their usual way with piecemeal proposals for the site and piss poor communication with local residents. Sure, we know new housing is needed but there is a way of going about providing that by working with residents to deliver it in a way that benefits the neighbourhood. Yet again, Thurrock Council with their usual lack of tact, diplomacy and communication have made a right pig’s ear of delivering this.