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25/03/2019

Thames Estuary growth is backed by government investment

Words: Laura Edgar
Thames Estuary / Shutterstock

The government has proclaimed its support for the Thames Estuary with a multimillion-pound package to create jobs, build new homes and boost local economic growth.

The package is a response to the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission's report, published in 2018. The commission proposed that one million homes would be required by 2050 in the Thames Estuary to support its growth, while 1.3 million new jobs could be created.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has put forward several measures as part of the government’s support for the vision, including £4.85 million to support local partners in developing low-cost proposals to enhance transport services between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet.

Additionally, he said £1 million would go towards establishing a new Thames Estuary Growth Board to oversee and drive economic growth plans for the area and a cabinet-level ministerial champion would be appointed to act as an advocate for the region within government.

Brokenshire said: “The Thames Estuary has long been a gateway to the UK economy and has enormous untapped potential, which has the power to benefit those that live and work in the area.

“Having considered the recommendations of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, I have announced a number of steps we are taking to unlock an even brighter future for the estuary’s economy, marking the beginning of a new and bolder approach by this government to support the area.”

The government said in its response it is committed to exploring ambitious housing and infrastructure deals with authorities in the Thames Estuary, as well as to exploring the potential for at least two new locally-led development corporations. It states: "We will work collaboratively with places to create thriving communities where people want to live and work, to deliver high quality, popular and well-designed places to live."

Peter Hogg, cities director as Arcadis, said the government response "seems to be worth the wait".

"It is good to see an important - if unsexy - focus on governance. This will be  critical for achieving what are some major ambitions, and a board with real teeth, led by an envoy and supported by a cabinet-led champion, sets a strong structure to enable success.

“When it comes to funding, the statements look superficially promising but, as ever, we are keen to see where there is genuinely new money, rather than re-packaging funds that have already been allocated. Having said that, I’m pleased to see the value of private sector involvement - and investment – has been recognised, as well as a global outlook to attract inward investment." 

The full government response to the commission’s report can be found on the UK Government website.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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