Orchards Community Forum

Community Forum for anyone that lives or works within the Orchards area of Thurrock

Welcome to the Orchards Community Forum

Established to represent all those with an interest in the Orchards area.  By working in partnership with all relevant interest groups, voluntary organisations, government departments, statutory authorities and individuals, the Orchards Community Forum seeks to provide for the improvement in the local environs for an involved and valued community.

Do you want to have a say in the Orchard community area?

Do you want to know about local issues or hear about new initiatives?

Do you want to make a difference to your local area?

Come along to our meetings; meet new friends; and have a voice!
Tea and Coffee served before every meeting and all are welcome.
Attend as a resident, leave as a friend.
The group shall be non-political and non-sectarian.
In order to become a member of the Orchards Community Forum you must be either a resident or work within the area known as Orchards.

Orchards Community Forum will:

Provide an additional route for those in Orchards to raise concerns and issues on local matters and communicate these to Thurrock Council and partners.

Strengthen local community networks and develop constructive and effective partnerships between local people and organisations and the Council.

Aim to provide information to residents, businesses, groups, and interested parties within the local area, work towards developing a community spirit and hold local events that will bring the community together.

Achieve funding for local initiatives from Thurrock Council and from other relevant bodies/organisations as appropriate. Improve the general environment and amenities of Orchards and to represent Orchards in other matters of concern.

Promote the welfare, leisure and recreation of the local community.

Liaise with Thurrock Council, Police and other bodies to achieve these aims.

Code of Conduct at Public Forum Meetings

  • All members shall be open and honest in their dealings and show respect for other members
  • All speakers will address themselves through the Chairperson
  • Only one person shall speak at a time
  • All speakers shall be polite and not raise their voices
  • All speakers shall respect all others in attendance and shall not use offensive language.
  • All forums observe equal opportunities and respect diversity of all community members.  Racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic and discriminatory language aimed at disabled people will not be acceptable or tolerated so please do not air personal views that are likely to offend.
  • All speakers will keep to the subject under discussion
  • Unless there are exceptional circumstances, each person may speak only once on an issue until every other member has had the opportunity to speak thereby accounting for all opinions
  • All members shall abide by the decisions taken at meetings
  • If any member does not abide by the Code of Conduct, there will be a warning that if they break the Code of Conduct they may be asked to leave the meeting
  • The offending member will be told that three warnings will be given and this is the first warning
  • The offending member will be told that there may be two further warnings and at the third case shall ask the meeting to vote on whether the member should be asked to leave the meeting
  • In the event of there being a conflict of interest (or potential conflict of interest) this must be disclosed to the meeting and if necessary, the member who has disclosed the conflict, (or potential conflict), whether financial or non-financial, shall absent themselves from the meeting whilst the subject is under discussion.  Political references shall be avoided.

Thank you for taking the time to read this document

Orchards Community Forum

Residents Meeting

29th January 2013

Present – Mike Stone, Chair; Andrew Blakey, Vice; Dave Lawrence, Treasurer; Julie Stone, Secretary; Cllr Yash Gupta

Apologies – Cllr Kathy Kent, Gill Garner

Guest Speaker – Jan Cole, Big Lottery Fund

The meeting was opened by MS  at 7.20pm and informed those gathered that the meeting would be recorded. There were no objections to this. He told the meeting that locally there were consultations about to happen concerning the Regeneration of Grays and that the consultations would be a chance for local people to have their say regarding plans that have been put forward. A brief discussion followed then he introduced Jan Cole from the Big Lottery Fund.

Presentation on Big Local

Jan Cole introduced herself as a Big Local rep and  went on to explain all about the Big Local, Funding from the Big Lottery Fund. She explained that part of Grays Thurrock and Grays Riverside had been picked by the Lottery to receive 1,000,000 pounds over a period of 10 years for Residents of these areas to spend on their communities. She gave examples of the sort of things that the money could be used for and how the funds would be made available, emphasising that she was not there to do what needed to be done but to advise and organise publicity of the programme. She also pointed out that there was to be no involvement by Thurrock Council in the Scheme. She told the meeting that she was employed by Local Trust, a newly created charity, that oversee the programme till march 2014. Employed to support Residents, she said that she will be on hand to help to create a Big Local Partnership consisting of a group of a minimum of 8 people, half of which should be Residents, who would decide what projects to fund and take responsibility for the money. She asked if anyone had any events coming up that she could attend to publicise the Big Local and handed out details of the programme and her contact details. MS thanked her for coming and moved on with the meeting.

Police Priorities

MS said that he had been asked by the police to ask Residents for 3 priorities that they would like the Police to address. Those present decided on the following: 1. Enforcement of the No left turn at the end of Grove Road, by use of a CCTV Camera. 2. Alcohol consumption and excessive drinking on the streets. 3. More visable policing in the area.


 MS told the meeting that the maintenance of the Forums planters would be discussed at the next meeting. A brief discussion followed where the planter outside Chicken Corner and Rayvac were mentioned including a broken kerbstone near the planter outside Rayvac. MS said he would look at this and report back at the next meeting.

Councillors Update

MS gave an update on yellow lines down one side of Whitehall Lane. He was pleased to announce that the Council had agreed to put the yellow lines one side of the road to allow parking on one side of the road only. Residents present were pleased to hear this news.

Notice Board

MS said that the new Notice Board would be placed outside Doug Siddons and that he had been asked if the Residents could also use it to publicise their events. Nobody objected to this. A discussion continued about having a volunteer to update the Notice Boards and two Residents agreed to do this.


MS said he would get someone down to the next meeting to discuss Refuse Collection. Then there was a discussion about a broken Kerbstone in Percy Street, an overgrown blackberry bush in a Residents garden and subsidence in East Thurrock Road. MS said he would look at these issues and report to the Residents concerned.  He then closed the meeting. Next meeting was arranged for 1st May 2013 at 7pm.

Orchards Community Forum

Residents Meeting A.G.M.

 31st October 2012

Present – Mike Stone (Chair), Andrew Blakey (Vice), Dave Lawrence (Treasurer), Julie Stone (Secretary), Bill Garner, Cllr Yash Gupta, Cllr Kathy Kent

Apologies – Sandra Rush

Guest Speakers – Cllr Victoria Holloway, Andrew Murphy

The meeting was opened by MS who informed those gathered that the meeting would be recorded. There were no objections to this. He then introduced DL who began his Treasurers Report covering the last year. He said that the Forum had been frugal with its expenditure and listed what had been spent which was as follows:

Treasurers Report

£115 Admin, plus £441 spent on a Lap Top as agreed at the last meeting & £291 Grants. There followed a discussion where DL explained that the funding of Forums would continue for 4 years. A resident asked what would happen when the money ran out. DL explained that the meetings would continue but if money was needed for the Community projects we would have to raise the funds ourselves. After a short discussion relating to Admin expenses DL passed the meeting back to MS who commenced with the election of the Committee after the present members were stood down.

Election of The Committee

After it was decided that nobody new wished to stand for any of the positions on the Committee, the old Committee was nominated, seconded & voted in as shown above. There were no new members wishing to join the Committee.

Cllr Victoria Holloway, Portfolio holder for the Environment   

Cllr Holloway introduced Andrew Murphy, Director of the Environment at Thurrock Council and then gave a brief outline of her portfolio. She then passed over to AM who spoke about his role. MS then opened questions from the floor. JS asked about the lack of rubbish bins. He said that there are 600 rubbish bins in and around Thurrock but due to costs that there were no plans to add any more. Cllr Holloway said that during a Q&A session at the Orsett Show, where this subject was mentioned, the Council are looking at hot spots in the borough and the possibility of moving existing bins around to cover these areas. A  question from the floor concerned wheelie bins not being put back properly after being emptied. AM said that this was a common complaint and was being looked into. DL pointed out that the Street Cleaner did his rounds on a Tuesday and the bins were collected on Wednesdays. AM said that it wasn’t possible to cover street cleaning after bin collection, but that the use of wheelie bins has greatly reduced the rubbish left behind. Gully cleaning and the issue of people not putting their bins back in their gardens was also discussed along with plans to recycle more articles like Polythene. AM explained that there are too many different types of Polythene making recycling of this product difficult but the Council are currently incinerating this product and it is being turned into electricity. AM said that currently Thurrock Council recycles 46% of its rubbish and this is one of the highest percentages in the Country. A member of the public mentioned yellow lines in front of dropped kerbs. MS said that the subject would be covered later in the meeting.

You Asked, We did

MS went through items brought up at the last meeting, Gully Cleaning completed, drop kerb repaired outside TRASA Court and double yellow lines in front of the drop kerb outside TRASA Court request has gone into the Council. A discussion followed regarding lorries using local roads despite the weight restrictions.

Councellors Updates

Cllr Gupta read out to the meeting a list of what he had done since the last meeting. He answered a question from the floor concerning the demolition of the Council Club Richmond Road. He informed the meeting that it will be demolished by the end of the year.

Notice Board

MS said that he had spoken to the Chemist Bridge Road regarding putting the new Forum Notice Board on the wall outside the Chemist shop but the request was denyed. MS then asked those present if anyone had any objection to using the wall outside Doug Siddons Complex (Grove Road). There were no objections. He then handed the meeting to AB who presented a slide show of photos taken at the Street Party held at the TCF Church, John Street during the summer. He told the meeting that the Christmas Lights would be switched on outside the Church 4pm-6pm Sunday Dec 9th.


Minutes of Residents Meeting

Wednesday 1st February 2012

Attendees – Mike Stone (Chair), Dave Lawrence (Treasurer), Julie Stone, Bill Garner, Cllr Y Gupta

Apologies – Will Jackson, Andy Blakey (Vice), Sandra Rush, Cllr Cathy Kent

Guest Speaker – Len Orpin, Gemma Riddles

Ms opened the meeting at 7.05 explaining that the Police could not be present due to operational reasons. He then went on to apologise for a mistake in the minutes of the last meeting. In the section AOB it was stated that the Whitehall Lane was not in the Forum area. This is not correct and the minutes have been amended accordingly.



MS introduced LO and GR who gave a talk on the Digital Switchover stating that there are four different types of TV receivers and what people have to do on the 4th and 8th April when the Analogue receivers are switched off. OP and GR then went on to describe the help scheme in detail stating who would be eligible for the scheme, who would have to pay the £40 cost of the retuning and they gave details of the exemptions. OP then emphasised the need for Community Supporters to help those people who for whatever reason fell outside of the groups eligible for the help scheme. After some discussion MS thanked LP and GR for their presentation. They asked if it would be ok to stay for the rest of the meeting. MS said this would be ok.



DL gave his report as follows: £148 allocated for publicity, DL apologised for not having spent this money allocated at the last meeting for publicity.£2,400.63 in the account, £225 of which remaining to be spent this year. Cllr Gupta suggested that this money could be used in some way to celebrate the Queens Golden Jubilee. MS said that the Thurrock Christian Fellowship Church in John Street were planning something. A discussion then followed regarding the dates of the Jubilee Celebrations. It was noted that the Thurrock T Fest was also on the same weekend. Cllr Gupta said that there was a Council website, events@thurrock.guv.uk. where people planning Street Parties could get relevant information.



DL introduced a request for the Forum Officers and Residents to attend a fund raising quiz night in aid of the Food Bank Scheme in Thurrock. DL explained that the Scheme catered  for people in need of food and that they could go to centres throughout Thurrock who would allocate donated food to them . DL stressed that people could only avail themselves of this scheme if they met the criteria. He said that the Forum could have two tables at the Quiz Night and the Forum would pay the £5 per head entrance fee for those who attended. The funding request was agreed by those present. DL said that the Quiz Night would be held at St Thomas`s Social Club in March. (date to be arranged)




MS introduced Cllr Gupta who proceeded to tell the floor that the Council had trouble with their budget after approx 8million had been cut from the monies Thurrock Council receives from the Government and that the Council had to make savings as a result. He then went on to point out what Committees the Local Ward Councillors served on. MS then asked Cllr Gupta to mention the dates of the Councillors Surgeries. A discussion then followed concerning attendance, or lack of it, at these Surgeries and the Forum meetings. MS then asked if there were any questions. A Resident asked about the recent ward walk with the chief executive of Thurrock Council. Cllr Gupta gave details of where they had gone in the Ward stating the issues that have surfaced in these areas and that they would be looked at by the Council. MS then clarified the areas covered by the Forum and the Ward. A Resident asked about the missing play equipment from Spider park. It was explained that the equipment had been removed as it had come to the end of its safe working life. A discussion then followed about Play Equipment and its lack of maintenance by the Council. LO, who MS explained was Chair of Stifford Forum, said that Forums and the Government had saved the Council money by providing the equipment and that they should provide the maintenance that would lengthen the lifespan of this equipment. DL said that there should be a partnership between Council and Forums concerning this issue. He went on to say that the Forum should look into finding funding for further equipment to replace the equipment removed from Spider Park.

A member of the Whitehall Lane Allotments said that a small group of helpers from the Allotment had made a good job of keeping the allotment clean and tidy. A discussion followed about volunteers and the problem of Whitehall Lane slipping down the bank onto the Allotments below. A concern was raised that the measures taken to shore up the bank would not last forever and the sandbags would need replacing. The representative of the Allotments suggested that the Forum could help with this when the time came but the problem needed addressing. Cllr Gupta agreed to look into the problem.



MS asked if there was any other business The subject of Back Alleys and the dumping of rubbish in them was raised. After a discussion MS pointed out that the Forum vice Chair had attended a meeting of the Cleaning and Greening Committee where he raised the fact that Residents felt that the Forum area was not being cleaned enough. MS then asked if there were any other questions from the floor. There were none. He then said that Scheduled meetings were now on the Forums Website. MS then said the next meeting would be Wednesday 11th April he then thanked everyone for coming and ended the meeting at 8.30pm.










Minutes of Residents Meeting

AGM 26th October 2011


Cllr Y Gupta

Will Jackson (Secretary)

Dolphine Rodolphine


Mike Stone        Chair

Andy Blakey      Vice                                                                 ,

Dave Lawrence   Treasurer                                                D

Julie Stone

Sandra Rush

Bill Garner

Cllr Cathy Kent

Ms opened the meeting at 7.05

Treasures report

Ms invited DL to give the treasures report.

DL Told the floor that the forum had £2,461 in the bank account including £350 admin money. He then answered a question from the floor explaining why there would be no money coming from the council as in previous years. A discussion followed regarding possible ways in which the Forum could receive monies in the future. DL then  offered the report to the floor to be agreed. It was agreed by those present.


Chairs Report

MS reported the following previous actions since the last meeting:

Sensory Garden, Tidy up by the Community Pay Back Team

Storm Drain, Removal of debris blocking drain in Manor Road as reported by a resident at the last Meeting.

Gully Cleaning

New Rubbish Bin. MS explained to the floor why the bin was sited in the Broadway

Change to Constitution

MS explained to the floor that in order for the Committee to be Elected the constitution would have to be altered in the following way:

Minimum of 8 meetings per year to be changed to 6

Not less than 5 members on the committee instead of 8

MS asked the floor to agree to the changes. Those present agreed.

Committee Elections

MS explained his position as Councillor in relation to being Chair after a question raised by a resident, saying that the Thurrock Council are aware of his involvement and have no objections at this time. He also said that he had no problem with standing down if a proposal for a new chair came forward to be elected. The Committee then stood down. WJ`s wish to stand down from the role of Secretary was relayed to the floor by MS and Julie Stone was put forward for the role. All other officers announced their intention to remain in their current roles, As did the current Committee Members. There were no objections from the floor and the committee was agreed






Winter Grit Bins

MS introduced a proposal put forward at a recent Council Meeting where it was suggested that Community Groups could grit minor routes in their respective areas from Grit Bins placed locally for this purpose. After a discussion where several Residents expressed their concerns at personal safety and liability issues, MS explained that it would be the intention of the Council to cover this with the Community Forums Public Liability Insurance. He explained that this insurance was paid for by Thurrock Council and not the Forum. After the discussion it was felt that those present did not want to agree to the proposals at this time.

Funding Applications


MS told the Meeting that it was agreed that the Forum would spend £500 of Forum funds per year and that £200 had been spent so far. The requests for funding were as follows:

Thurrock Christian Fellowship requested £75 to help fund their Christmas Lights event

Thurrock Asian Society requested £50 to help fund their yearly Diwali Celebrations at the Thameside Theatre.

Purchase of a new Digital Voice Recorder from Admin Funds. £50-£70.

After a show of hands it was decided that the Forum would fund the TCF event after no objections. Voting on the TAS request was rejected. It was felt that as there was a charge      to attend the event and that the event was not a local community event taking place in the Orchards area, the Forum should not help to fund it.

There were no objections to the funding of the voice recorder from Admin funds.

DL then asked the Committee to consider a request for approx £300 to produce Information Cards for distribution throughout the Orchards area. These would contain general information, Forum meeting dates and useful local information. He also said that maybe local Takeaways could be encouraged to advertise and this would generate money for the Forum. He then asked for ideas from those present as to other things that could be included.

Proposed amalgamation with Grays Central Forum


DL raised the possibility that Orchards, being a Forum with a small area, could benefit from such an amalgamation. After a discussion where all possibilities and possible problems were discussed it was decided that the majority of those present did not want to join forces with G.C.F,

Councillors Update


MS introduced Cllr Cathy Kent who apologised for being late. She then explained the  situation regarding the recent Phone scandal at the Council to a resident who asked about it. MS then brought her up to speed on the discussions, so far, regarding the Grit Bins. She added that this year the bins would be provided free but next year there may be a charge for them.











A representative from the Whitehall Lane Allotments said that they were pleased with the Councils renovation of the path in that area but said that the path further up the road was still damaged due to the heavy Lorries that were still using the road. He also suggested that double yellow lines should be put on one side of Whitehall Lane to ease the parking problems from the Day Nursery and John Stanley Care Agency. A Resident then pointed out that a new lamp in Kent Road had been erected but it was not working. He said that he had reported it to the Council 3 weeks ago but it still wasn’t working. He said that it was a lamp that served two roads and it was particularly dangerous at night.  MS then said he would update the website re meeting dates and would try, weather permitting, to arrange another meeting before Christmas. He apologised for the absence of the police saying that they can only attend the meetings if their working responsibilities allowed it. A resident then said that he would like to see something done about the dumped rubbish in the area and dog fouling. Cllr CK said that if the person who was doing the dumping was known and it could be proved a call to the Be Smart number, offenders will be prosecuted. After some discussion she said that it would be possible to compose a letter reminding people not to dump their rubbish in the alleyways. Residents said that they clear their part of the Alleyways, mainly, to gain access. One Resident said that the Council need to support the Residents. MS said that he would organise the letters reminding Residents of their responsibilities in keeping their Alleyways clear of rubbish. Cllr CK suggested that the Community Payback Team to clear existing rubbish. A Resident said that neighbours could club together and get a skip. MS said that not everybody would support this. Cllr CK said that the Chief Executive of Thurrock Council will be doing a ward Walk on the 28th November and she would bring these problems to his attention. A discussion followed regarding areas that needed to be pointed out. MS then closed the meeting at 8.25pm.