Council pulls the plug on expert advice in crossing battle

By Neil Speight

23rd Jan 2023 | Local News

IN the latest fallout from Thurrock Council's cash crisis, local councillors learned today that expert help to oppose the planned Lower Thames Crossing has been axed.

The council's official position is to oppose the current route and plans for the crossing, which will link the M2 and M25 via a Thames tunnel and road link through Thurrock. And it appointed a 'task force' of councillors and interested local people to represent it. They were backed up by experts funded by the council.

Earlier today (Monday, 23 January) it was confirmed that a £1.2 billion contract with Balfour Beatty had been agreed with National Highways, though the project remains subject to government approval.

There now starts an 18-month period of detailed design and pre-construction planning. If the project secures a development consent order from the government, construction could start in 2024, with completion in 2029 or 2030.

Thurrock, however, may now have a limited contribution to that consultation as it has been revealed that not only will it no longer fund the experts to develop the opposition case, but some of those experts have not yet been paid for the work they have already done.

The root cause of the problem is the council's total financial failure and submission of a Section 114 order which means the government is taking control of its finances and every item of expenditure.

It seems an immediate casualty is expert advice on opposition to the crossing!

     

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