LOCAL ELECTIONS: Thurrock Council candidates

Independent and Green Party hopefuls are hoping to make their mark at the ballot box this year in Thurrock.

The South West Essex Green Party is fielding candidates in four wards in the May 2 elections while Independents are standing in seven wards. It will be the last one third election before all out elections begin in Thurrock in 2025.

The council was left in no overall control in February after two Tories voted against the council’s budget plans which included an 8 per cent rise in council tax and £20million of savings for the virtually bankrupt council.

Currently the council has 49 councillors consisting of 23 Conservatives, 19 Labour, five members of an Alliance of Independent Councillors and two Independents. The strong Independent and Green Party presence could potentially further eat into Conservative numbers.

Independents are contesting wards in the east of the borough and in Chafford and North Stifford.

Fraser Massey, a Non-Political Alliance of Independent Councillors member for East Tilbury, said: These upcoming local elections set a record number of independent candidates for Thurrock in recent years. This gives residents a real choice over and above the two Westminster parties.

“Local elections should always be about the person and not the party and I expect to see many independents elected in May.”

Green Party candidates are standing in Grays Riverside, Little Thurrock Blackshots, South Chafford and West Thurrock and South Stifford.

Eugene McCarthy, chairman of the South West Essex Green Party, said: “Thurrock deserves better than what the Conservative and Labour have offered. Greens are ready to deliver actual change in this election as clearly the other parties have forgotten Thurrock.

“We’re local people fighting for more good jobs, new, decent council homes, investing in our high streets, and common-sense finances. The old parties have given up on Thurrock. We won’t.”

Two-councillor wards at Little Thurrock Rectory, Stifford Clays, Tilbury Riverside and Thurrock Park will not be contested this year.

Labour and Conservatives will stand in all wards.

John Kent, leader of the Labour group, said keeping services running amid the financial constraints would be a priority. He said: “Thurrock Conservatives have bankrupted the council, borrowing one and a half billion pounds which they frittered on reckless investments.

“As a result, we will all be paying much more in Council Tax and receiving poorer services for years to come.

“We cannot promise the earth – people aren’t fools. Under a Labour council, we will make sure that our vulnerable elderly and young are protected, that basic services are delivered properly and that we are open and transparent at all times.”

The bleak picture for Conservatives in national polls is also likely to take its toll locally but Joy Redsell, Conservative councillor for Little Thurrock Blackshots remains upbeat.

She said: “I hope people will differentiate between Government and local but some people don’t. I’m hopeful. I’ve got a good ward and it’s my 20th year.

“It’s only for a year as we are all out next year and we’ll do it all over again.”

The candidates:

Aveley and Uplands

  • Augustine Onanaji (Con)
  • Cathy Sisterson (Lab)

Belhus

  • Georgette Polley* (Con)
  • Victoria Holloway (Lab)

Chadwell St Mary

  • Charlie Taylor-Webb (Con)
  • Ngozi Alike (Lab)

Chafford & North Stifford

  • Adam Carter (Con)
  • Lynda Heath (Lab),
  • Bisi Sowunmi (Ind)

Corringham & Fobbing

  • Shane Ralph (Con)
  • James Mackinlay (Lab)
  • John Fox (Ind)

East Tilbury

  • Shamim Miah (Con)
  • Ala\stair Craft (Lab)
  • Sue Sammons (Ind)

Grays Riverside

  • Bunmi Ojetola (Con)
  • Tony Fish* (Lab)
  • Daniel Fallows (Green Party)

Grays Thurrock

  • Joglur Rahman (Con)
  • John Kent* (Lab)

Little Thurrock Blackshots

  • Joy Redsell* (Con)
  • Michael Fletcher (Lab)
  • Magun Singh (Green Party)

Ockendon

  • Luke Spillman* (Con)
  • Ryan Polston (Lab)

Orsett

  • David Day (Con)
  • Carl Morris (Lab)
  • Jack Duffin (Ind)

South Chafford

  • Tunde Ojetola (Con)
  • Gary Watson (Lab)
  • Caitlin Fallows (Green Party)

Stanford East & Corringham Town

  • George Wright (Con)
  • Ajay Kapoor (Lab)
  • Roy Jones (Ind)

Stanford-le-Hope West

  • Terry Piccolo* (Con)
  • Philip Smith (Lab)
  • Ross Byrne (Ind)

The Homesteads

  • Allen Mayes (Con)
  • Clifford Holloway (Lab)
  • Lisa Sargent (Ind)

Tilbury St Chads

  • Daryl Palmer (Con)
  • Kairen Raper* (Lab)

West Thurrock and South Stifford

  • Elisabeta Blaj (Con)
  • Lee Watson* (Lab)
  • Ri Goodyear (Green Party)

Some polling stations have changed this year so registered voters are encouraged to check their card carefully. Polling hours on Thursday May 2 are from 7am -10pm.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter