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Basildon Council wants to break away from Essex County Council

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  • Basildon Council wants to break away from Essex County Council

    6th July 2019

    COUNCILLORS are intent on staging their own ‘Bas-exit’ from Essex County Council in a bid to make Basildon great again.

    On Thursday night Basildon Council’s policy and resource committee approved the “exploration of options for broadening council powers”, which would see the authority attempt to take control of every element governed by the county council.

    And Basildon Council leader Gavin Callaghan declared: “Nothing is off the table.”

    The main focus of debate centred on securing cheaper council tax as well as control of highways and roads in the borough. Deputy leader and independent Kerry Smith revealed just 26 pavements in Basildon had been repaired this year.

    He said: “I am a county councillor, so I could get myself in trouble here, but for me it has to be ‘Bas-Exit’, we have got to break away from Essex County Council. They treat Basildon like something they have tread in. Today I got a big document, it was there highway bulletin, a great big document, and it was fantastic, if you live outside south Essex.

    “What they have done for this parish on page one, nice Blue areas receiving loads of money, where has that money come from? Taxpayers in Basildon, Basildon businesses, we are robbed by county hall and we have to become unitary.”

    Tory Craig Rimmer added: “I think we are open to the idea of an exploratory study into this, because obviously the state of our roads is not acceptable.

    “There is definitely some priorities in my ward, the pavements are shocking in places, we have been taking photos and sending in photos of pavements, of broken bollards, of the roads in disarray across Pitsea, and yes I think we would like to take more control of this, and probably our street lights as well.”

    Mr Callaghan, who chaired the meeting, claimed the situation couldn’t get worse for Basildon Council.

    He warned: “I think it is fair to say there is a frustration from everybody around the current system and the way it works. One of the challenges we have is, could we get a [worse] deal than we have now? I am all for us during this process trying to improve the relationship, and I have had positive conversations with cabinet members on children’s and social mobility just last week about pilot schemes, but you have to question why it has not happened previously?”
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