Thurrock Council have recently agreed to "release" Grangewaters Outdoor Education Centre as part of a wider asset disposal. We urge them to reconsider this decision as Grangewaters will play an essential role in developing recreation on the Thames.
At the same time as this decision was reached, Grays was awarded £19.9m from the government's Town Fund initiative to support a plan to regenerate the waterfront, and we understand that recreation and leisure sit at the heart of this plan.
The Thames is a fantastic asset for sailing and other forms of recreation but it is unforgiving for novices. Deep mud, strong tides, and commercial shipping movements all mean that some experience and confidence are required to enjoy the river safely.
Our club has worked with Grangewaters in recent years to introduce young Thurrock people to sailing under our Sail Thurrock programme. Grangewaters is the only sheltered water suited to introductory sailing in our area. Stubbers in Upminster, which is operated on a commercial basis has recently ceased all sailing activities and evicted the two sailing clubs that operated there. Therefore Grangewaters is now an essential community asset for sailing and watersports not just in Thurrock but in our neighbouring boroughs as well.
We have therefore taken the action of formally requesting the council to list Grangewaters as an Asset of Community Value, which would allow options for it to remain in community hands should the decision be to proceed with the sale.
However we sincerely hope it won't come to that - without Grangewaters there is no route to enjoying recreation on the Thames. We hope the Council will recognise this and keep Grangewaters running for the community and successful regeneration of the Grays waterfront.