27 February 2017

Essex council hits out over 'unacceptable' letter to residents

Essex council hits out over 'unacceptable' letter to residents

Party leaders at an Essex council have joined forces to express outrage at Highways England 'again' writing to residents without informing the council.

Leaders of the Conservative, UKIP and Labour groups on Thurrock Council have co-signed a letter to the Government-owned company to complain about how it is communicating with residents over the planned Lower Thames Crossing.

Council leader Rob Gledhill said: ‘The situation Highways England has created is completely unacceptable. Without an announcement on the route, to send letters to residents completely out of the blue will no doubt cause them concern.

‘Highways England must now make sure we are properly informed before any action is taken so we can help residents who may be worried about what is to come.’

UKIP leader Cllr Graham Snell and Labour group leader Cllr John Kent also signed the letter.

It states: ‘By ignoring the role of the local authority, elected members and officers, in ensuring our residents are well informed and have the right information to be clear on what is happening with the future of the Lower Thames Crossing, you are undermining the strategic partnership which should exist between our organisations. This is very disappointing and of major concern.

‘It is with outrage – if not surprise – that we find ourselves having to write again to lodge a formal complaint about your repeated approach to communicating with our local community without our prior knowledge which demonstrates a lack of respect for the council’s community leadership position.’

Transport Network has been approached for comment.

Last week Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said that, with no decision having been taken on the exact route for the crossing, it had also not yet been decided whether it would have two or three lanes in each direction.

Photo: ©Thomas Nugent

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