Thurrock Council has announced their support for the formation of a joint committee from seven different councils across south Essex, saying it will give the borough a “larger voice.”

Called the “Association of South Essex Local Authorities”, the proposed committee will comprise of Council Leaders and Chief Executives from each council who will meet to discuss matters affecting boroughs across the south of Essex.

These boroughs include Thurrock, Brentwood, Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend and Essex County Council.

A decision to support the proposed new cross-border committee was voted in favour of in a Cabinet meeting yesterday evening. Other councils are yet to decide whether they will support it.

Submitting the motion was Thurrock Council Leader, Rob Gledhill, who said: “We sit in Thurrock, that will not change.

"Outside is other local authorities and sometimes the biggest hurdles when it comes to the expansion of infrastructure are the boundaries – the invisible lines that say we are Thurrock or we are Castle Point.

"This motion is about ignoring these boundaries."

Councillor Gledhill wanted to assure the Cabinet that the creation of this association would not reduce their powers as a local authority.

He added: “We are not giving up our powers. It doesn’t mean we’re sharing our services with other local authorities and we’re certainly not giving up our ability to make decisions for Thurrock.

“This about making sure we’re not just a small voice calling out to the Government for assistance, we’re actually a very large voice.”

The Cabinet also expressed an interest in bidding for up to £250,000 funding available from Central Government to put into the scheme.

In the report, entitled “South Essex Vision 2050”, it states that the proposed joint committee would “would provide strategic direction on policy formulation, delivery and implementation.”

The report asserts that each council would retain their independence, but that the committee’s decision would be accepted as being in the “best interests” of each authority.

The report adds: “Each constituent authority would retain sovereignty over local matters but would acknowledge and accept that the work of and direction from the joint committee would be in the overall best interests of the area as a whole.”