Report identifies 15 priority projects across north Kent, south Essex and east London
The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission has published its report setting out its vision and delivery plan for north Kent, south Essex and east London up to 2050.
The commission’s 36 page report has identified 15 priority projects, including new Thames crossings (pictured), which need to be delivered over the next three decades in order for the area to reach its potential
It said it was necessary to view the Estuary as a series of interconnected areas to unlock its potential, which according to the report could be an additional £190bn of Gross Value Added and 1.3 million jobs by 2050.
The commission said the 15 priority projects aligned to four key areas.
These were: sectors, including expediting the delivery of the Medical Campus at Ebbsfleet; connectivity, including extending Crossrail 1 from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet; communities, including establishing a Great Thames Park; and delivery, including developing statutory joint spatial plans in Kent and Essex.
Joint spatial plans would give councils an overarching vision and framework to help deliver new homes, land for employment purposes and the supporting infrastructure.
James Brokenshire, housing and communities secretary, said: “The Thames Estuary has enormous untapped potential and we are determined to unlock this to drive both local and national economic growth.
“The commission has provided us with bold and ambitious set of recommendations, which we will consider in detail and respond to in due course.”
Sir John Armitt, chair of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, said: “Without concerted action, there is a risk that the Thames Estuary will fail to achieve its potential, at huge opportunity cost to local communities and the national economy.
“The resounding message from the consultation that the Commission has undertaken is that there is ambition in the Thames Estuary to deliver high-quality development and the best economic outcomes for people.
“However, a ‘business as usual’ approach will not deliver growth at scale and pace; governance reform and new delivery models are needed.”
The 15 projects include boosting skills, improving transport links and infrastructure improvements.
Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission 15 priority projects
Quick (By 2020)
An integrated skills strategy: Implement a more targeted skills strategy that provides clear pathways to employment. It should support the area’s existing and emerging economic sectors including the Production Corridor and the growing interest in the cultural and creative industries
Transport innovation zone: Create a Transport Innovation Zone which promotes clean technology in transportation, logistics and data systems and unlocks housing opportunities with new means of public transport.
SE foreshore fund: Create a fund which local authorities and local communities can bid for. Projects should support town centre regeneration and/or community development.
Institute for resilient infrastructure: Establish a centre for the research, design and funding and financing of integrated infrastructure to address contemporary and future city challenges
NK foreshore fund: Create a fund which local authorities and local communities can bid for. Projects should support town centre regeneration and/or community development.
Education and skills: Implement a more targeted skills strategy with employers and educational institutions that provides clear pathways to employment that support the area’s existing and growing economic sectors
Great Thames Park: Establish the Great Thames Park to celebrate and maximise the value of the area’s natural assets. This should include improving access to and use of the River Thames for pedestrians and cyclists.
Celebrate the Thames: Build on the success of the existing Thames Festival and the Port of London Authority’s Thames Vision to create a programme of festivals, events and promotional activities.
Short (By 2024)
Accelerated delivery pilot: Trial new delivery models to accelerate the scale and pace of delivery of homes and jobs in the Opportunity Areas within City Ribbon to bring forward the development stated in the London Plan by 2035. This could be done through housing delivery companies and the public sector acting as master developers
Medical campus: Expedite the delivery of the Medical Campus at Ebbsfleet.
SEC relocation: Expedite the relocation of the South Essex College’s Nethermayne campus to Basildon town centre.
Health supercentre: Develop the new health and medical facilities at Canterbury to provide the eastern anchor to the supercentre.
Medium (By 2030)
Three new Thames crossings: Prioritise the planning and funding of river crossings. The Silvertown Tunnel and the DLR extension to Thamesmead should be operational by 2030. A third river crossing should be considered to facilitate homes and jobs.
Extension of Crossrail: Deliver an extension to Crossrail 1 from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet.
Long (By 2050)
Thames East line: Delivery of new multi-modal (including rail) crossing east of the Lower Thames Crossing combined with the second Thames Barrier. Potential interchange points could be Basildon and the Medway Towns.