Throughout my time as Thurrock’s Member of Parliament, I have constantly lobbied Government to get the best I can for Thurrock. And too often, Thurrock Council has failed to deliver what has been promised. The recent Government inspection has identified the serious failings in delivery.
It is quite a catalogue. The A13 widening was over budget due to the project being poorly specified in the first place. Stanford station is simply chaotic. We have been talking about Purfleet regeneration for more than fifteen years and, despite millions in public money, not a single house has been completed. Surely it is time to think again about how to deliver Purfleet. The existing project has been a complete failure.
But the biggest disappointment has to be Grays. Six years ago I secured more than £10m for Grays which was due to be spent on the area around the railway station. Virtually no progress has been made. Four years ago, Thurrock was invited to bid under the Future High streets fund and messed it up - robbing us of millions in investment. Grays could have been transformed.
It is no wonder that the public become cynical about the promises made when there has been such poor delivery. We need to face up to these failings and address them if we are to make Thurrock the best it can be. There needs to be pretty significant reform at Thurrock Council if this record of poor delivery is to be addressed. It is disappointing that the poor performance has been tolerated for so long. The public deserve better. I have been impressed with the discussions I have had with the new managing director who is very focused on improving leadership and performance. We should all give him our support.