Campaign update & Thank you!

Ahead of our upcoming fixture against the Kent Kings, we’d like to take this opportunity to bring everyone up to date with the Campaign and to thank you all for the part you played in ensuring that our message has been received ‘loud and clear’ by both planning officers and locally elected representatives at Thurrock Council.

The Council’s Local Plan team conducted a consultation process between December 18th 2023 and February 19th 2024, a process that we actively contributed to with a detailed Response (view here). 

We also asked you, our supporters, to engage with the consultation and we are thrilled to report that you responded in magnificent numbers.

Mark Sexton and Brian Connolly attended the recent Thurrock Council Developer Forum held by the Local Plan team on April 18th 2024 to listen to an update on the progress of the consultation. 

During the presentation, Mark and Brian learned that the Council received 218 email responses relating to the Arena Essex site out of a grand total of the 330 that were received for the entire consultation. The site of the Hammers former home, which is currently owned by Global Infrastructure (UK) Ltd, a division of Google, was the only land plot that was mentioned by name which clearly reflects the impact your engagement had and the importance of the venue.

More recently on May 2nd 2024, Council elections were held in Thurrock and these have seen a dramatic shift in the balance of power within the Borough. With one third of seats contested, the Labour Party, under the leadership of Councillor John Kent, now has an overall majority of 5 (27 ward Councillors out of 49).

Councillor Kent, who will now become Leader of the Council, has been a key supporter of our Campaign for a number of years and, in fact, proposed the motion that called for the retention of speedway and which was adopted by a unanimous vote of the 42 councillors at a Full Council meeting in January 2023.

Mark and Brian went to Councillor Kent’s monthly surgery meeting on Saturday (4th May) to offer their congratulations but also to discuss the opportunities that exist and to explore how the Council can help to apply, and enforce where necessary, national and local policies, the inevitable s106 budget required to make any development of the Arena Essex site acceptable in planning terms,  the local precedent of the Aveley Football Club Parkside development and the application of the Speedway positive Coventry Stadium Appeal Decision.

The Hammers are delighted to receive firm, unequivocal and consistent support from Councillor Kent, and his colleague Councillor Lynn Worrall, and both Brian Connolly and Director, Mark Sexton left the meeting encouraged by the possibility of  progress.

Once again, thank you to everyone who helped us with the consultation. You have made a big difference!

Up The Hammers!