Councillor responds to criticism over council homes ‘list’ and challenges portfolio holder to open debate

  Posted: 13.02.20 at 13:43 by The Editor

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AN under-fire Thurrock councillor has challenged her political rival to a debate over the controversial new homes site development list produced by the council.

Two nights of vexatious comments have highlighted the differences between the ruling Conservative group on the council and the Labour opposition.

On Tuesday Cllr Lynn Worrall was virtually incandescent as she picked apart the list and volleyed a sequence of criticisms at the plan for 20 sites across the borough.

As the chair of the council’s Housing Overview & Scrutiny committee she called on the council to abandon several of the projects which had caused distress to residents.

The following evening (Wednesday, 12 February) the council’s cabinet also debated the list - but without any formal record of Tuesday’s meeting as the administration was unable to turn the minutes around.

Cllr Worrall was not at the cabinet meeting because she was attending the Orchards Forum meeting in her ward - where several of the development sites were on the agenda for discussion.

Last night’s Orchards Forum meeting attended by Cllr Lynn Worrall.

However, she became the butt of criticism from several cabinet members for not attending, criticism led by housing portfolio holder Barry Johnson (see story via red button below).
They said she should have been there to report to cabinet.

Cllr Wirral responded today by asking why Cllr Johnson has not attended any of her committee’s meetings.

And she released the following statement: “As Chair of the Housing Overview Committee, I believe it is right to look at each and every one of the proposed sites separately and to look at the processes that will need to be followed before any of them can move to the next stage.

"Any cabinet opposition to my scrutiny role  just leads me to believe that they do not want this to be an open and resident-focused process. They can criticise me personally, but it does not detract from the fact that I and my Labour colleagues will always speak up for our residents.

“Cllr Johnson, the housing portfolio holder has, to date, failed to come to my committee and answer for these disastrous plans.

“Therefore, today, I am publicly challenging him to bring an urgent housing paper to the council chamber where all 49 councillors would have the opportunity to discuss the proposal to build up to 900 houses on council-owned land. I am ready to publicly debate it. Is he?”

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