THE Thames Crossing Action Group has criticised Thurrock Council after it was revealed the local housing plan will not be discussed at its next meeting.

The campaign group, which is fighting against plans for a third Thames crossing, claim a lack of a confirmed plan makes it more likely the crossing will go ahead.

A spokesman for the group said: “We are more than aware how important the local plan is to Thurrock Council’s response to the Lower Thames Crossing consultation.

“We have been told time and time again by Highways England that it cannot take the local plan into account until it has been officially passed.

“Unless the local plan is brought to the agenda by the Conservatives at the December 11 meeting and passed before the response to the Lower Thames Crossing consultation is presented it means that the local plan cannot be used in the council’s response to the Lower Thames Crossing.

“We have been aware of the importance of the local plan to LTC for some time and had been quietly talking to councillors in the hope of doing everything I could to get the local plan passed at this meeting, as their had been some voicing of opposition to it.

“We were actually in a position whereby we thought enough had been done that whilst the other two parties may not support the local plan they would abstain rather than opposing it - as they understood the importance of ensuring it was passed at the meeting.

“What we did not count on was the Conservatives not putting it on the agenda for the meeting, and we want to know why, and we need to know now.

“We would urge every single one of you to contact your councillor and ask why the local plan is not going to be on the agenda for the meeting, expressing how critical it is to the council’s response to the Lower Thames Crossing consultation.

“We need the local plan on the agenda and passed on December 11 as a matter of great importance and urgency.

“It is time for all 49 councillors to put their money where their mouth is, with regards to their opposition to the proposed Lower Thames Crossing.

“We deserve and demand that of all Thurrock councillors now.”

The council denied the claims not having the local plan on the agenda for the next meeting would impact on the Lower Thames Crossing plans.

Mark Coxshall, councillor for regeneration speaking about the local plan, said: “You can’t rush these things.

“We have been working to find a consensus with other parties on this for 16 months, making changes after change, concession after concession.

“Sadly, with the other groups saying ‘yes we are happy’ in meetings, but saying things they know to be untrue in leaflets or to other party members, it undermines the process.

"The public will only benefit from people acting in good faith, and that is what we have tried to achieve.

“When they refused to sign up for a joint statement that they were happy with what was going to happen with increased infrastructure, more health provision and homes for those already growing up in Thurrock, it was apparent that they were going to play politics for their own short-term gain.

“This is something no one should be doing, not least those elected to office to represent the borough.

“We will keep working and hopefully find a way forward with a Local plan all parties are happy with.

“In terms of the impact this has on the Lower Thames Crossing, let’s be clear, it does not.

“This vote was not to pass a local plan, just a consultation, which is step two of three.

“Opposition councillors are trying to equate these issues for political gain.

“Let me be clear, we oppose a new LTC route and we will use a Judicial Review to fight this with our legal might.”

An information event about the Lower Thames Crossing is being held by Highways England on Thursday December 6 from 9am to 10pm outside Debenhams, level one, Lakeside Shopping Centre.