Town centre partnership's plans to make Grays great

PCSO Bill Sparks, left, with Poppet and Mark Blanks

PCSO Bill Sparks, left, with Poppet and Mark Blanks

First published in News Thurrock Gazette: Matt Abbott by , Chief Reporter

A NEW ambitious group has formed to change the face of Grays town centre.

The Grays Town Centre Partnership, comprising around 10 independent shop owners, chain store managers, the shopping centre and town police officers and council officers will work to make the town centre a more attractive destination.

Mark Blanks, manager of Boots and newly appointed chairman of the partnership, said: “We want to brighten up the town and do things that make the place a little bit more attractive.

“Grays has lots of potential both to fulfill and unlock.

“We’re hoping that as time goes on, there will be more and more people getting involved in the committee.”

The committee will work alongside Thurrock Council, as it steams ahead with ambitious regeneration projects centred around the station, but will look at making more subtle changes such as hanging baskets, providing more seating or putting on events.

An events committee will be set up as part of the partnership, which was originally started in 2012 but in recent weeks has become more focussed.

Last Wednesday lunchtime it organised, Moshi Monster characters Poppet and Katsuma to come to town.

They had their pictures taken with youngsters who were on their Easter holiday.

South Essex College representatives were also there promoting the new £45million college campus on New Road which opens later this year, forming the focal point for the key regeneration projects planned for the town.

Mr Blanks said: “There has already been some great success in Grays.

“The police town team for one.

“It was identified that that was needed and now problems we used to have, such as with drunk people hanging around in the town, hardly ever occurs now.

He added: “Events like this one celebrate the uniqueness of Grays. We’ve got this great public space, why not use it? Plus, it’s a great thing for children and parents. We’ve had about 1,000 people come through today.”

Comments (15)

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8:13am Thu 24 Apr 14

G.Fawkes says...

Will Poppet and Katsuma be sorting out the one way system too?
Will Poppet and Katsuma be sorting out the one way system too? G.Fawkes
  • Score: 6

8:22am Thu 24 Apr 14

ejgorham says...

Keen to understand what Poppet and Katsuma's strategy is on drug related and violent crime?
Keen to understand what Poppet and Katsuma's strategy is on drug related and violent crime? ejgorham
  • Score: 4

9:02am Thu 24 Apr 14

Bernard 87 says...

This is going to sound like too much common sense to the council but I'll give it a go anyway and hope some of it sticks....

The one way system has to go, it's pointless and makes the whole town revolve around Morrisons

Free parking is needed throughout the weekends

Cheap commuter parking should be encouraged in the week. If all those commuters who use Grays Station from the outlying villages had to walk through the town centre each evening surely some of them would use the shops there. This would also open the door for coffee chains, pubs and restuarants if they believe the town to have an evening/night-time economy

More visible policing

More trees and greenery

Cheaper business rates for people who live within Thurrock who want to open up shop there

A clean up of the bus/railway station area to make the place more welcoming to visitors

Make the old courthouse and war memorial more of a focal point

Get rid of that dodgy church that operates on a Sunday morning in the Queensgate

Limit the number of low grade shops, particularly the ones selling 'world' foods'. They drag the area down.

Uniform the shop fronts on the High Street itself

Extend the market on a Saturday and increase the types of goods

Tidy up the London Road entrance into the town

I can think of many more but I'll stop there
This is going to sound like too much common sense to the council but I'll give it a go anyway and hope some of it sticks.... The one way system has to go, it's pointless and makes the whole town revolve around Morrisons Free parking is needed throughout the weekends Cheap commuter parking should be encouraged in the week. If all those commuters who use Grays Station from the outlying villages had to walk through the town centre each evening surely some of them would use the shops there. This would also open the door for coffee chains, pubs and restuarants if they believe the town to have an evening/night-time economy More visible policing More trees and greenery Cheaper business rates for people who live within Thurrock who want to open up shop there A clean up of the bus/railway station area to make the place more welcoming to visitors Make the old courthouse and war memorial more of a focal point Get rid of that dodgy church that operates on a Sunday morning in the Queensgate Limit the number of low grade shops, particularly the ones selling 'world' foods'. They drag the area down. Uniform the shop fronts on the High Street itself Extend the market on a Saturday and increase the types of goods Tidy up the London Road entrance into the town I can think of many more but I'll stop there Bernard 87
  • Score: 16

9:54am Thu 24 Apr 14

OckendonPaul says...

I'm glad you stopped when you did Bernard as I've a horrible feeling you're wasting your breath. All good ideas though.
I'm glad you stopped when you did Bernard as I've a horrible feeling you're wasting your breath. All good ideas though. OckendonPaul
  • Score: 4

10:19am Thu 24 Apr 14

ThurrockResident says...

I note having the new railway underpass looks like the dentist, newsagents and kebab place look likely to be demolished and maybe the Dillons places opposite. Why remove shops etc that are doing good business?
I note having the new railway underpass looks like the dentist, newsagents and kebab place look likely to be demolished and maybe the Dillons places opposite. Why remove shops etc that are doing good business? ThurrockResident
  • Score: 0

11:08am Thu 24 Apr 14

jb411 says...

Bernard 87 wrote:
This is going to sound like too much common sense to the council but I'll give it a go anyway and hope some of it sticks....

The one way system has to go, it's pointless and makes the whole town revolve around Morrisons

Free parking is needed throughout the weekends

Cheap commuter parking should be encouraged in the week. If all those commuters who use Grays Station from the outlying villages had to walk through the town centre each evening surely some of them would use the shops there. This would also open the door for coffee chains, pubs and restuarants if they believe the town to have an evening/night-time economy

More visible policing

More trees and greenery

Cheaper business rates for people who live within Thurrock who want to open up shop there

A clean up of the bus/railway station area to make the place more welcoming to visitors

Make the old courthouse and war memorial more of a focal point

Get rid of that dodgy church that operates on a Sunday morning in the Queensgate

Limit the number of low grade shops, particularly the ones selling 'world' foods'. They drag the area down.

Uniform the shop fronts on the High Street itself

Extend the market on a Saturday and increase the types of goods

Tidy up the London Road entrance into the town

I can think of many more but I'll stop there
Great comment Bernard87, I hope you are not wasting your breath.
[quote][p][bold]Bernard 87[/bold] wrote: This is going to sound like too much common sense to the council but I'll give it a go anyway and hope some of it sticks.... The one way system has to go, it's pointless and makes the whole town revolve around Morrisons Free parking is needed throughout the weekends Cheap commuter parking should be encouraged in the week. If all those commuters who use Grays Station from the outlying villages had to walk through the town centre each evening surely some of them would use the shops there. This would also open the door for coffee chains, pubs and restuarants if they believe the town to have an evening/night-time economy More visible policing More trees and greenery Cheaper business rates for people who live within Thurrock who want to open up shop there A clean up of the bus/railway station area to make the place more welcoming to visitors Make the old courthouse and war memorial more of a focal point Get rid of that dodgy church that operates on a Sunday morning in the Queensgate Limit the number of low grade shops, particularly the ones selling 'world' foods'. They drag the area down. Uniform the shop fronts on the High Street itself Extend the market on a Saturday and increase the types of goods Tidy up the London Road entrance into the town I can think of many more but I'll stop there[/p][/quote]Great comment Bernard87, I hope you are not wasting your breath. jb411
  • Score: 0

11:49am Thu 24 Apr 14

d_2da_ougle says...

personlly on a saturday and a sunday i would close the road from the pain postoffice roundabout running past the courthouse till it gets to the police station and have it lined one abrest with a market the police can acess the station by coming down hathaway road, the market would be huge morrisions can be accrssed by going around the roundabout and using its main entrance poast the petrol station everyones a winner
personlly on a saturday and a sunday i would close the road from the pain postoffice roundabout running past the courthouse till it gets to the police station and have it lined one abrest with a market the police can acess the station by coming down hathaway road, the market would be huge morrisions can be accrssed by going around the roundabout and using its main entrance poast the petrol station everyones a winner d_2da_ougle
  • Score: -11

2:32pm Thu 24 Apr 14

woodsider says...

Bernard 87 wrote:
This is going to sound like too much common sense to the council but I'll give it a go anyway and hope some of it sticks....

The one way system has to go, it's pointless and makes the whole town revolve around Morrisons

Free parking is needed throughout the weekends

Cheap commuter parking should be encouraged in the week. If all those commuters who use Grays Station from the outlying villages had to walk through the town centre each evening surely some of them would use the shops there. This would also open the door for coffee chains, pubs and restuarants if they believe the town to have an evening/night-time economy

More visible policing

More trees and greenery

Cheaper business rates for people who live within Thurrock who want to open up shop there

A clean up of the bus/railway station area to make the place more welcoming to visitors

Make the old courthouse and war memorial more of a focal point

Get rid of that dodgy church that operates on a Sunday morning in the Queensgate

Limit the number of low grade shops, particularly the ones selling 'world' foods'. They drag the area down.

Uniform the shop fronts on the High Street itself

Extend the market on a Saturday and increase the types of goods

Tidy up the London Road entrance into the town

I can think of many more but I'll stop there
Agree with most of Bernard 87 comments. A lot of councils have shop frontage controls over the quality and size of signage. Ranging from Cardiff to Islington. Islington includes restrictions like it must be in fitting with the building and the rest of the street so they get some consistent quality. All the best high streets have well appointed shop fronts. All the weak ones have the rough and homemade mish mash of signs that we see in Grays to some extent.
[quote][p][bold]Bernard 87[/bold] wrote: This is going to sound like too much common sense to the council but I'll give it a go anyway and hope some of it sticks.... The one way system has to go, it's pointless and makes the whole town revolve around Morrisons Free parking is needed throughout the weekends Cheap commuter parking should be encouraged in the week. If all those commuters who use Grays Station from the outlying villages had to walk through the town centre each evening surely some of them would use the shops there. This would also open the door for coffee chains, pubs and restuarants if they believe the town to have an evening/night-time economy More visible policing More trees and greenery Cheaper business rates for people who live within Thurrock who want to open up shop there A clean up of the bus/railway station area to make the place more welcoming to visitors Make the old courthouse and war memorial more of a focal point Get rid of that dodgy church that operates on a Sunday morning in the Queensgate Limit the number of low grade shops, particularly the ones selling 'world' foods'. They drag the area down. Uniform the shop fronts on the High Street itself Extend the market on a Saturday and increase the types of goods Tidy up the London Road entrance into the town I can think of many more but I'll stop there[/p][/quote]Agree with most of Bernard 87 comments. A lot of councils have shop frontage controls over the quality and size of signage. Ranging from Cardiff to Islington. Islington includes restrictions like it must be in fitting with the building and the rest of the street so they get some consistent quality. All the best high streets have well appointed shop fronts. All the weak ones have the rough and homemade mish mash of signs that we see in Grays to some extent. woodsider
  • Score: 2

2:32pm Thu 24 Apr 14

woodsider says...

Bernard 87 wrote:
This is going to sound like too much common sense to the council but I'll give it a go anyway and hope some of it sticks....

The one way system has to go, it's pointless and makes the whole town revolve around Morrisons

Free parking is needed throughout the weekends

Cheap commuter parking should be encouraged in the week. If all those commuters who use Grays Station from the outlying villages had to walk through the town centre each evening surely some of them would use the shops there. This would also open the door for coffee chains, pubs and restuarants if they believe the town to have an evening/night-time economy

More visible policing

More trees and greenery

Cheaper business rates for people who live within Thurrock who want to open up shop there

A clean up of the bus/railway station area to make the place more welcoming to visitors

Make the old courthouse and war memorial more of a focal point

Get rid of that dodgy church that operates on a Sunday morning in the Queensgate

Limit the number of low grade shops, particularly the ones selling 'world' foods'. They drag the area down.

Uniform the shop fronts on the High Street itself

Extend the market on a Saturday and increase the types of goods

Tidy up the London Road entrance into the town

I can think of many more but I'll stop there
Agree with most of Bernard 87 comments. A lot of councils have shop frontage controls over the quality and size of signage. Ranging from Cardiff to Islington. Islington includes restrictions like it must be in fitting with the building and the rest of the street so they get some consistent quality. All the best high streets have well appointed shop fronts. All the weak ones have the rough and homemade mish mash of signs that we see in Grays to some extent.
[quote][p][bold]Bernard 87[/bold] wrote: This is going to sound like too much common sense to the council but I'll give it a go anyway and hope some of it sticks.... The one way system has to go, it's pointless and makes the whole town revolve around Morrisons Free parking is needed throughout the weekends Cheap commuter parking should be encouraged in the week. If all those commuters who use Grays Station from the outlying villages had to walk through the town centre each evening surely some of them would use the shops there. This would also open the door for coffee chains, pubs and restuarants if they believe the town to have an evening/night-time economy More visible policing More trees and greenery Cheaper business rates for people who live within Thurrock who want to open up shop there A clean up of the bus/railway station area to make the place more welcoming to visitors Make the old courthouse and war memorial more of a focal point Get rid of that dodgy church that operates on a Sunday morning in the Queensgate Limit the number of low grade shops, particularly the ones selling 'world' foods'. They drag the area down. Uniform the shop fronts on the High Street itself Extend the market on a Saturday and increase the types of goods Tidy up the London Road entrance into the town I can think of many more but I'll stop there[/p][/quote]Agree with most of Bernard 87 comments. A lot of councils have shop frontage controls over the quality and size of signage. Ranging from Cardiff to Islington. Islington includes restrictions like it must be in fitting with the building and the rest of the street so they get some consistent quality. All the best high streets have well appointed shop fronts. All the weak ones have the rough and homemade mish mash of signs that we see in Grays to some extent. woodsider
  • Score: 0

8:52pm Thu 24 Apr 14

poortaxpayer says...

detonation of a small nuclear device would improve Grays town centre.
detonation of a small nuclear device would improve Grays town centre. poortaxpayer
  • Score: 13

9:26pm Thu 24 Apr 14

skinthegoat says...

poortaxpayer wrote:
detonation of a small nuclear device would improve Grays town centre.
Unfortunately, NuLabour, in their wisdom, created a law forbidding the detonation of nuclear devices.(Even small ones).If you don't believe it look it up. What a record...one new law every day they were in office...Three thousand to be precise. Praise be to Mr Blair for rubbing our noses in diversity!!
[quote][p][bold]poortaxpayer[/bold] wrote: detonation of a small nuclear device would improve Grays town centre.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately, NuLabour, in their wisdom, created a law forbidding the detonation of nuclear devices.(Even small ones).If you don't believe it look it up. What a record...one new law every day they were in office...Three thousand to be precise. Praise be to Mr Blair for rubbing our noses in diversity!! skinthegoat
  • Score: 23

10:56am Fri 25 Apr 14

Make Thurrock Better says...

Bernard 87 I agree with everything you say plus one other thing. Develop the river front where possible and put in restaurants and bars. The river is Grays greatest asset. Even if a small area was developed really tastefully you would attract people to it. Look at Richmond for example.
Bernard 87 I agree with everything you say plus one other thing. Develop the river front where possible and put in restaurants and bars. The river is Grays greatest asset. Even if a small area was developed really tastefully you would attract people to it. Look at Richmond for example. Make Thurrock Better
  • Score: 0

11:27am Fri 25 Apr 14

Bernard 87 says...

That is a good idea MTB other than the fact that the 70s disaster that is the Seabrooke would have to be either demolished or refurbished to resemble the nicer more modern riverside properties. The tower blocks would most certainly have to come down as well.
That is a good idea MTB other than the fact that the 70s disaster that is the Seabrooke would have to be either demolished or refurbished to resemble the nicer more modern riverside properties. The tower blocks would most certainly have to come down as well. Bernard 87
  • Score: 0

12:01pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Make Thurrock Better says...

An alternative might be to look at some sort of construction close by the river. A pier plus moored bars etc. I'm thinking of Miller and Carter at Lakeside etc. Long term it would be better to totally re vamp the housing you suggested but meanwhile surely the area near Grays beach could be developed at least on the river front.
An alternative might be to look at some sort of construction close by the river. A pier plus moored bars etc. I'm thinking of Miller and Carter at Lakeside etc. Long term it would be better to totally re vamp the housing you suggested but meanwhile surely the area near Grays beach could be developed at least on the river front. Make Thurrock Better
  • Score: 0

3:40pm Tue 29 Apr 14

OckendonPaul says...

Making more use of the riverfront is a great idea. The river is underused and goes almost un-noticed, which is nuts. Might get a bit choppy on a moored barge from time to time though!
Making more use of the riverfront is a great idea. The river is underused and goes almost un-noticed, which is nuts. Might get a bit choppy on a moored barge from time to time though! OckendonPaul
  • Score: 0

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