Thurrock Council's brand-new Council Chamber has officially welcomed councillors to its seats at an Extraordinary Full Council meeting.
On Thursday 13 October, Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr James Halden was joined by his newly appointed cadet macebearer Marius McMahon and Reverend Canon Darren Barlow to give a blessing of the old Council Chamber and welcome Thurrock's 49 elected members and officers to the new Chamber in the Civic Offices building.
Cllr Mark Coxshall, Acting Leader and Cabinet Member for Growth, was also elected as Leader of Thurrock Council for a 4-year term of office.
Cllr Halden said: "We have a new administration and new Chamber. However, we felt it was right to formally close the old Chamber to reflect the transition to a modern, more efficient and open place to do the public's business. We have had school children in already and I hope to see more and more people and businesses being welcomed into this modern facility to see and take part in the major decisions that impact our lives."
Cllr Coxshall said: "It really is an exciting time for Thurrock and this new Chamber helps to represent the change and culture shift new leadership is bringing to this council.
"Thank you to all staff for their hard work and commitment to our borough over the years. I look forward to working with officers and councillors from all parties in this new Chamber to make Thurrock the best it can be."
The new Chamber, which has been designed to stand for generations, is the last area of the new innovative Civic Offices building to open its doors. The building has opened in phases with its multi-functional committee rooms hosting council and community meetings since April.
It is also home to a bespoke Register Office, which hosts 3 ceremony rooms, and a ceremonial garden. The first wedding was held in the Lacey Suite on Saturday 2 April, in the Mulberry Suite on Saturday 9 April, and in the smaller Register Office on Tuesday 20 September. In total, 128 weddings or civil partnerships have taken place up to Thursday 6 October. There have also been 2 private citizenship and 8 group citizenship ceremonies.
The Register Office has taken 42 notices of marriage since Tuesday 20 September, and also carries out birth and death registrations. Find out more about Register Office services, including births, marriages, civil partnerships, deaths, citizenship, nationality and proof of life..
In September, the new purpose-built coffee shop opened to council staff and members of the public. Offering indoor and outdoor seating, it has a range of hot and cold drinks, savouries and sweet treats. Opening times are 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Photo below: the extraordinary meeting of Full Council in the new Chamber.