THURROCK Council is continuing its "fire sale" of properties, including the Thameside Theatre, to boost this year's budget by £1million and streamline services.

The council has listed the latest 30 properties considered surplus to requirements and suitable for disposal.

The theatre in Grays is costing the council £500,000 to run and it estimates it would cost £16milliom to carry out the repairs and refurbishment the building needs.

The list also includes Chadwell Clinic in Chadwell St Mary, Thurrock Adult Community College, Grays, Riverside Youth Theatre, Tilbury and Woodlands Pre-School in Purfleet.

Nine acres of land are set to go if Warren Fishing Lakes in Stanford-le-hope is sold along with 6.8 acres in Cole Avenue, Chadwell St Mary.

The council has previously announced the sale buildings used for two day centres and a Meals on Wheels service.

The properties are being reviewed under the council’s “retain, re-use, release” system which will see the properties kept, or sold but some could be bought by the council’s own Thurrock Regeneration Ltd property company for the development of social housing.

John Kent, leader of the Labour group, condemned the move. He said: "The council is entering into a fire sale of its assets. It's a desperate attempt to dig themselves out of a £34million financial black hole caused by financial mismanagement.

"The most shocking of their proposals is the disposal of the Thames complex in Orsett Road, home to Thurrock central library and the museum for almost 50 years. It says much about the Conservative Party for Thurrock that they can find £10million for new council offices which a majority voted against, but they can't keep Thameside."

The council needs to build 32,000 homes by 2038 and in line with many other authorities is struggling to identify suitable sites but it has come under fire for selling off pieces of land suitable for social housing.

Mark Coxshall, councillor responsible for regeneration, strategic planning and external relationships, said some of the sites identified may still be suitable for council homes. He said: “The programme has been going on for the last two or three years where we have looked at each of our properties with a view to release for sale. We have a long list of surplus properties.

“The next stage is housing delivery so we might be able to do a joint venture or Thurrock Regeneration might want a site to build on. Some properties may go to tenants or to auction. It’s an evolving process.”

Mr Coxshall added: “We can’t keep all these little bits. We own shop after shop. We’ve always kept assets. We actually own four pubs. It stifles regeneration. The money we raise can be invested locally.

“It’s about having fewer buildings and better services.”

The sales will be discussed by Thurrock's cabinet on Wednesday.