Council officials bid for cash to regenerate Grays town centre

First published in News

THURROCK Council is to bid for £100,000 of funding to return Grays town centre to its glory days.

The Government will pick 12 towns across the country pilot a new scheme designed to improve the coutry's town centres, devised by high street queen Mary Portas.

The council's cabinet agreed last night to submit a bid for the funding, and create a special "town team" to oversee the regeneration of the town centre.

It also agreed to put £100,000 of section 106 planning money into the scheme as well.

Cabinet member for regeneration, cllr Andy Smith, was positive about the town's future.

He said: "I very strongly support this. Some people tend to run down the town, but I think it has a big future.

"We will be working with lots of stakeholders in the town and I think we are going to put in a good bid.”

The Portas review, which was published in December, makes 28 recommendations for breathing life back into the country's high streets.

Chief of these is creating the specialist town teams.

The review said: "The best results will come from maximum collaboration at the local level to create high streets that people want to use, enjoy and return to.

"It’s up to local areas to decide what works for them, but a Town Team could include key landlords, large and small shopkeepers, council representatives with specific knowledge of planning and development, the mayor or MP, other local businesses and service providers, and local residents.

"The Town Team provides an opportunity for different local stakeholders to come together. Town Teams could also inherit powers and rights to try new ways of working on the high street.

“This should be game-changing stuff and thoughtful engagement, not just the usual suspects round a table planning the Christmas decorations."

The move was backed unanimously by the cabinet.

Speaking after the meeting, cllr Smith said: “Most of us around that table were long term residents of Thurrock, people who remember Grays High Street as it used to be.

“High Streets across the country have taken a bit of a beating over the past couple of decades and Grays is no exception, but that’s going to change."

Comments (19)

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4:59pm Thu 8 Mar 12

Bea P says...

Grays desperately needs an overhaul. It used to be a pleasant little place for shopping, but now it's just depressing.

The town has let too many pawnbrokers/bookies/
99p shops move in and the whole tone of the town is cheap and desperate.

However, Thurrock Council could have funded this themselves instead of taking a longshot on this scheme. They waste money so obscenely it's like Nero's in charge over there. Considering they've wasted £900,000 in the last five years paying suspended staff full pay, they have got some nerve.

Source: http://publicauthori
tywatcher.blogspot.c
om/2011/08/thurrock-
council-youcouldntma
keitup.html
Grays desperately needs an overhaul. It used to be a pleasant little place for shopping, but now it's just depressing. The town has let too many pawnbrokers/bookies/ 99p shops move in and the whole tone of the town is cheap and desperate. However, Thurrock Council could have funded this themselves instead of taking a longshot on this scheme. They waste money so obscenely it's like Nero's in charge over there. Considering they've wasted £900,000 in the last five years paying suspended staff full pay, they have got some nerve. Source: http://publicauthori tywatcher.blogspot.c om/2011/08/thurrock- council-youcouldntma keitup.html Bea P
  • Score: 0

5:13pm Thu 8 Mar 12

wingnut2k10 says...

The best way to regenerate grays town centre is with a fleet of JCBs and just flatten it!! What future does a town hold that is full of cafes and 99p shops. It is no longer a safe place to go with all the immigrants there and people that have no respect for anything or anyone. The only thing in Grays worth spending any money on is the STATE cinema and that has just been left to rot and mould! Thurrock council needs to sort out its prioritys!!
The best way to regenerate grays town centre is with a fleet of JCBs and just flatten it!! What future does a town hold that is full of cafes and 99p shops. It is no longer a safe place to go with all the immigrants there and people that have no respect for anything or anyone. The only thing in Grays worth spending any money on is the STATE cinema and that has just been left to rot and mould! Thurrock council needs to sort out its prioritys!! wingnut2k10
  • Score: 0

8:12pm Thu 8 Mar 12

A Dermot says...

Grays High street wil never go back to its heyday. With Lakeside on our doorstep all the major high street chains open branches in Lakeside instead of the high street.

Grays town centre is becoming nothing more than an extension of downtown Lagos.
Grays High street wil never go back to its heyday. With Lakeside on our doorstep all the major high street chains open branches in Lakeside instead of the high street. Grays town centre is becoming nothing more than an extension of downtown Lagos. A Dermot
  • Score: 0

7:14am Fri 9 Mar 12

Stevenr62 says...

Far too little far too late. Most people I know only go there if they have to. They've handed the town over on Sundays to a minority black church. Who knows what happens down in the basement on a Sunday morning. All I know is every road around it is blocked with the cars from the people that go there, some even parked on the paths so people have to walk in the road. I bet if a group of local people wanted to do that every Sunday the council would stop it. Grays is now a town for immigrants. The former local people are no longer wanted.
Far too little far too late. Most people I know only go there if they have to. They've handed the town over on Sundays to a minority black church. Who knows what happens down in the basement on a Sunday morning. All I know is every road around it is blocked with the cars from the people that go there, some even parked on the paths so people have to walk in the road. I bet if a group of local people wanted to do that every Sunday the council would stop it. Grays is now a town for immigrants. The former local people are no longer wanted. Stevenr62
  • Score: 0

8:53am Fri 9 Mar 12

Bernard 87 says...

The problem with Grays Town Centre stems from a lack of vision from the council over the past 30 odd years.

While other towns have modernised such as Romford and Basildon which not that long ago were becoming dreary and depressing, those in charge chose not to focus on the town centre so I'm surprised that they are now interested. Many of us who comment on this site regularly have been going on for ages about Grays needing an overhaul and it seems that as the local elections are approaching the Labour lot find the time start to look into the matter.

With Lakeside so close by the way to get businesses to move into Grays is by making parking really cheap and lowering rents on units. More green space is needed in the town and we need to make a feature of what old buildings are left like The State.

As the churches, live and let live I say, but a balance has to be struck. If non-traditional churches are going to operate then car parking is needed in the locations where they are placed so not to inconvenience everyone else.

Unfortunately Labour councils generally don't really do vision, imagination, credible ideas or pride. It seems they prefer to keep places downmarket much against the wishes of their residents.
The problem with Grays Town Centre stems from a lack of vision from the council over the past 30 odd years. While other towns have modernised such as Romford and Basildon which not that long ago were becoming dreary and depressing, those in charge chose not to focus on the town centre so I'm surprised that they are now interested. Many of us who comment on this site regularly have been going on for ages about Grays needing an overhaul and it seems that as the local elections are approaching the Labour lot find the time start to look into the matter. With Lakeside so close by the way to get businesses to move into Grays is by making parking really cheap and lowering rents on units. More green space is needed in the town and we need to make a feature of what old buildings are left like The State. As the churches, live and let live I say, but a balance has to be struck. If non-traditional churches are going to operate then car parking is needed in the locations where they are placed so not to inconvenience everyone else. Unfortunately Labour councils generally don't really do vision, imagination, credible ideas or pride. It seems they prefer to keep places downmarket much against the wishes of their residents. Bernard 87
  • Score: 0

10:08am Fri 9 Mar 12

Cvh says...

Ridiculous Grays is a total mess
because TBC and no one else is to blame as an early post says look at the State building left to rot because our glorious council want a car park for thier good chums Morrisons flatten the whole area from Stanley Road onwards and lets start again but this time put grown ups in control
Ridiculous Grays is a total mess because TBC and no one else is to blame as an early post says look at the State building left to rot because our glorious council want a car park for thier good chums Morrisons flatten the whole area from Stanley Road onwards and lets start again but this time put grown ups in control Cvh
  • Score: 0

10:17am Fri 9 Mar 12

Bernard 87 says...

There are definately a few buildings which need to be knocked down.
There are definately a few buildings which need to be knocked down. Bernard 87
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Fri 9 Mar 12

Dave_ says...

Wingnut, I’d start by knocking down the building with all the offices in, in New Road ;-)

As has been been said many times a complete and total lack of vision over the last 30 years has led to the town centre we have today. The council of the day knew Lakeside was coming and just rolled over to get their tummy tickled.

The council could have turned The State into an entertainment centre, a proper theatre, music venue, special screening cinema and so much more. There are so many touring acts music and other entertianment that crave a 2000+ seat auditorium, the council is missing a trick. The closest these get to us are Brentwood Centre and Cliffs, which isn’t that good. This would have given the town cente a focal point, but an extremely anal po-faced approach to anything remotely along the entertainment lines on the council meant this never happened. God forbid they may have even had free car parking. This could have spawned proper eateries combined with take-aways and other shops and so on. The problem we have in Grays is the Thameside, which is council run so they have no intention of letting anything else be competition. The Thameside only just held a school IIRC from when my kids were in primary school.

I do think that completely free car parking 0900 - 0500 Mon-Fri and all day at the weekend has to be central if any sort of regeneration is to happen. This will mean people will come and not just think about going into THE only supermarket. This would eventually pull in other shops, reduced business rates would be useful to encourage shops in.

Also stronger policing to ensure people don’t feel “uncomfortable”w
alking around.
Wingnut, I’d start by knocking down the building with all the offices in, in New Road ;-) As has been been said many times a complete and total lack of vision over the last 30 years has led to the town centre we have today. The council of the day knew Lakeside was coming and just rolled over to get their tummy tickled. The council could have turned The State into an entertainment centre, a proper theatre, music venue, special screening cinema and so much more. There are so many touring acts music and other entertianment that crave a 2000+ seat auditorium, the council is missing a trick. The closest these get to us are Brentwood Centre and Cliffs, which isn’t that good. This would have given the town cente a focal point, but an extremely anal po-faced approach to anything remotely along the entertainment lines on the council meant this never happened. God forbid they may have even had free car parking. This could have spawned proper eateries combined with take-aways and other shops and so on. The problem we have in Grays is the Thameside, which is council run so they have no intention of letting anything else be competition. The Thameside only just held a school IIRC from when my kids were in primary school. I do think that completely free car parking 0900 - 0500 Mon-Fri and all day at the weekend has to be central if any sort of regeneration is to happen. This will mean people will come and not just think about going into THE only supermarket. This would eventually pull in other shops, reduced business rates would be useful to encourage shops in. Also stronger policing to ensure people don’t feel “uncomfortable”w alking around. Dave_
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Fri 9 Mar 12

saladsnice says...

Thurrock Council only want the money, do you really think they want to regenerate Grays High Street to it's former Glory? NO!
Proof is in the pudding, look what happened to the three times they revamped Belhus Shops, Consultations went out of the window because no one listened to the people and the main problem was the idiots of the council are still the same people! Regenerate and get ideas from local ordinary people, not Council Officials who should have retired or been sacked by now anyway! Bring in New Blood, young people to take us forward, we don't want to go backwards, Old Grays was for the generation back then not the generation of now! I'm knocking on 60 and I certainly don't want to go backwards! You think traffic is a problem now, you should have been around Grays Hight Street back in the sixties, I certainly don't want to go back to that! Congestion, Exhaust fumes, masses knocking into each other! No, Knock it all down including the State Building, move the Compton Organ to Thameside Theatre or Civic Hall and start afresh!Oh!....... Lets have a new lot of Councillor's as Well! You know it makes sense!
Thurrock Council only want the money, do you really think they want to regenerate Grays High Street to it's former Glory? NO! Proof is in the pudding, look what happened to the three times they revamped Belhus Shops, Consultations went out of the window because no one listened to the people and the main problem was the idiots of the council are still the same people! Regenerate and get ideas from local ordinary people, not Council Officials who should have retired or been sacked by now anyway! Bring in New Blood, young people to take us forward, we don't want to go backwards, Old Grays was for the generation back then not the generation of now! I'm knocking on 60 and I certainly don't want to go backwards! You think traffic is a problem now, you should have been around Grays Hight Street back in the sixties, I certainly don't want to go back to that! Congestion, Exhaust fumes, masses knocking into each other! No, Knock it all down including the State Building, move the Compton Organ to Thameside Theatre or Civic Hall and start afresh!Oh!....... Lets have a new lot of Councillor's as Well! You know it makes sense! saladsnice
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Fri 9 Mar 12

Dave_ says...

I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the sixties, just a high street and shopping area that people want to and will use. Knocking it down won’t make it better and The State has real potential, but our councillors for the last 3-4 decades wouldn’t recognise potential, unless it was in the form of an empty field for houses. Because of this anyone with vision coming forward wouldn’t get a look in.
It's not nostalgia it's making use of assets properly. Noy just knocking it down as you are too stupid to do anything else.
I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the sixties, just a high street and shopping area that people want to and will use. Knocking it down won’t make it better and The State has real potential, but our councillors for the last 3-4 decades wouldn’t recognise potential, unless it was in the form of an empty field for houses. Because of this anyone with vision coming forward wouldn’t get a look in. It's not nostalgia it's making use of assets properly. Noy just knocking it down as you are too stupid to do anything else. Dave_
  • Score: 0

10:03pm Fri 9 Mar 12

saladsnice says...

When I listened to the Council Director at a residents meeting, he stated he wanted to recruit management from the local community's in Thurrock! So where does he think current Management come from then! If he promotes from within, he will end up with the same cowboys he's already got and we all know where that would lead to don't we?
The State has no potential in my book, The outside of the building was always a disgrace, even back in the sixties! Knock it down and build new complex! No more room for Nostalgic crap like that any more................
... Or Money!!!!
When I listened to the Council Director at a residents meeting, he stated he wanted to recruit management from the local community's in Thurrock! So where does he think current Management come from then! If he promotes from within, he will end up with the same cowboys he's already got and we all know where that would lead to don't we? The State has no potential in my book, The outside of the building was always a disgrace, even back in the sixties! Knock it down and build new complex! No more room for Nostalgic crap like that any more................ ... Or Money!!!! saladsnice
  • Score: 0

11:11pm Fri 9 Mar 12

Bernard 87 says...

Grays needs to be brought into the 21st century but that doesnt mean knocking everything down, especially The State. A prime entertainment venue is exactly what Grays needs and would also bring new people into the town.
Grays needs to be brought into the 21st century but that doesnt mean knocking everything down, especially The State. A prime entertainment venue is exactly what Grays needs and would also bring new people into the town. Bernard 87
  • Score: 0

10:48am Sat 10 Mar 12

saladsnice says...

Like the eastern Eurpeans who've helped turn Grays into, what it is today, the major companies who turned their back on Grays instead of promoting it, a Council that has old councillor's who only think of their pillar in the community! BUILD A NEW AND BETTER ONE! Demolish the old one and get rid of old Council Management! That would be a good start!!!! AMEN!
Like the eastern Eurpeans who've helped turn Grays into, what it is today, the major companies who turned their back on Grays instead of promoting it, a Council that has old councillor's who only think of their pillar in the community! BUILD A NEW AND BETTER ONE! Demolish the old one and get rid of old Council Management! That would be a good start!!!! AMEN! saladsnice
  • Score: 0

2:13pm Sat 10 Mar 12

Dave_ says...

New doesn't necessarily mean better especially when it comes to public buildings. It does generally mean functional, characterless, glass facades, which is why places like Lakeside and the like are so abyssmal. Also saladsnice using your logical we would knock down houses because they were a bit old, so I imagine most of Thurrock’s housing built in the 30s - 60s must be due for demolition, to be replaced by the crappy shoeboxes that masquerade as houses now. God above knows what you make of much of London?
New doesn't necessarily mean better especially when it comes to public buildings. It does generally mean functional, characterless, glass facades, which is why places like Lakeside and the like are so abyssmal. Also saladsnice using your logical we would knock down houses because they were a bit old, so I imagine most of Thurrock’s housing built in the 30s - 60s must be due for demolition, to be replaced by the crappy shoeboxes that masquerade as houses now. God above knows what you make of much of London? Dave_
  • Score: 0

3:49pm Sat 10 Mar 12

d_2da_ougle says...

il give thurrock council one thing though walking past new the offices down grays yesterday and a st george flag was flying i did a double take
il give thurrock council one thing though walking past new the offices down grays yesterday and a st george flag was flying i did a double take d_2da_ougle
  • Score: 0

7:47pm Wed 14 Mar 12

A Dermot says...

We need more Halal butchers, money transfer shops, Afro Caribean hairdressers, ethnic fruit and veg shops, pound shops and estate agents - oh hold on thats Grays town centre already!
We need more Halal butchers, money transfer shops, Afro Caribean hairdressers, ethnic fruit and veg shops, pound shops and estate agents - oh hold on thats Grays town centre already! A Dermot
  • Score: 0

8:43am Thu 15 Mar 12

Bernard 87 says...

And thats exactly why Grays needs investment A Dermot. Those shops do not pull in enough people. You can have a handful of those types of shops to cater for different people but you cannot allow them to dominate, especially pound shops, estate agents and takeaways.
And thats exactly why Grays needs investment A Dermot. Those shops do not pull in enough people. You can have a handful of those types of shops to cater for different people but you cannot allow them to dominate, especially pound shops, estate agents and takeaways. Bernard 87
  • Score: 0

2:33pm Thu 15 Mar 12

saladsnice says...

And Charity Shops, Pawn Shops,
cash converter shops, etc, etc.

Yes Dave_Says, if it means knocking down houses as well then go for it, because those big old houses will end up with unscrupulous foreign landlords who will encourage our foreign friends to multiply in numbers and create another slum area! Why do you think the well to do English people move out of the area! Most of the original shops were owned by the local Englishmen who lived in those local houses, they've now gone!
Mostly because of Lakeside and their own greed!! KNOCK IT ALL DOWN and rebuild!
And Charity Shops, Pawn Shops, cash converter shops, etc, etc. Yes Dave_Says, if it means knocking down houses as well then go for it, because those big old houses will end up with unscrupulous foreign landlords who will encourage our foreign friends to multiply in numbers and create another slum area! Why do you think the well to do English people move out of the area! Most of the original shops were owned by the local Englishmen who lived in those local houses, they've now gone! Mostly because of Lakeside and their own greed!! KNOCK IT ALL DOWN and rebuild! saladsnice
  • Score: 0

2:40pm Thu 15 Mar 12

saladsnice says...

I wonder if ordinary people understand what Stakeholder means! " Those that have a vested financial interest in the area"! In other words, those who can fleece the most out of the community at any one time!
WAKE UP THURROCK!
I wonder if ordinary people understand what Stakeholder means! " Those that have a vested financial interest in the area"! In other words, those who can fleece the most out of the community at any one time! WAKE UP THURROCK! saladsnice
  • Score: 0

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