Architect Sir Terry Farrell’s green vision for Gateway includes Kent-Essex link and new islands

Radical proposals to link Kent and Essex with a huge bridge across the Thames Estuary were unveiled last week by architect Sir Terry Farrell.

The new vision for the Thames Gateway, which includes the creation of a cluster of islands in the middle of the estuary made from London’s waste, were revealed by Farrell and a team of consultants including EC Harris, Scott Wilson and Battle McCarthy.

Concept designs for an Essex–Kent “Gateway Bridge” have been drawn up by engineer Scott Wilson. The structure would stretch from Shoeburyness in Essex, to the Isle of Grain and Sheerness in Kent. It is not yet known how long the bridge would be.

It would touch down on two artificially created islands, dubbed the Gateway settlement, which would house floating homes, a beach, park and marina.

Farrell’s report, The Vision: A New Kind of National Park in the Thames Gateway, builds on his idea of turning the area into London’s green playground.

The structure would stretch from Shoeburyness to the Isle of Grain

The report says 90% of the proposed 200,000 new homes should be built in existing urban areas in east London, while the remaining 10% should be within existing settlements – and should be carbon-neutral “eco-cities”. This would leave most of the space available for parks or eco-friendly industrial developments.

Park ranger: Farrell’s team wants to turn the Gateway into a giant green space and link Kent and Essex across the Thames
Park ranger: Farrell’s team wants to turn the Gateway into a giant green space and link Kent and Essex across the Thames

The report also proposes a 60% reduction of carbon in all housing in the area. This would be achieved by giving 50% of domestic roof space over to solar panels, as well as each home having its own wind turbine. These would be supplemented by a large-scale wind turbine every 9.5 ha, up to 120 m in height.

Farrell’s team, which also includes Bank of Scotland, Experian and the Future Foundation, presented the plans to a group of MPs convened by Frank Dobson on Tuesday. The group plans to show the report to Ruth Kelly, secretary of state for communities and local government, by the end of July.

Graham Matthews, head of public sector work at EC Harris, said this was the only detailed vision for the Gateway and urged the government to take it seriously. He said: “A great deal of thinking is being put into the initiative, but much of it lacks cohesion. We believe our consortium can put forward a vision that could be adopted and developed.”