Published: 14:04, 07 October 2020
| Updated: 11:35, 08 October 2020
Construction work is under way on the south banks of the River Thames to build the largest "green" warehouse in Europe.
The £205 million distribution centre next to the Dartford Crossing is being primed for an interested "global online retailer", understood to be Amazon.
Construction of the 2.3m square foot logistics park, on the site of the former Littlebrook power station in Rennie Drive, is set to be completed in July 2021, and will create at least 400 jobs.
Developers Bericote Properties have been backed by the Thames Estuary as part of its government investment scheme dedicated to projects which promote "good, green growth" .
It looks to encourage greener methods of energy production and transportation, with a view to increasing freight and passengers travelling on the river by 50% in a five-year period.
A golden bolt was screwed into place yesterday by Thames Estuary Envoy Kate Willard to mark the official beginning of its construction.
She said: “The sun is shining on us here in the Thames Estuary which augurs well for great things to come.
"Bericote Properties set the standard very high when it comes to good, green growth and I hope to see many more companies in the Estuary follow their lead.”
Jonathan Maher, director at Bericote Properties, said: “Kate and the growth board have been vital to our plans because they truly make things happen.
"The development of this distribution centre is our biggest project yet, and we have worked hard to consider sustainability at every step. To have that recognised and be one of the inaugural visionaries is a great achievement.”
It is targeting a BREEAM "excellent" rating for sustainability and will build one of the largest green roofs of any building outside London.
Also included will be 40 electrical vehicle charging points and one of the biggest solar panel schemes in the UK to promote an energy switch away from mains gas.
Online shopping has spiked during lockdown with retailers increasingly looking for large warehouses and logistics centres to base their operations – with huge demand for land near the Dartford Crossing .
"The development of this distribution centre is our biggest project yet, and we have worked hard to consider sustainability at every step."
Planning permission for the 97 acre plot shed scheme on the site of the former decommissioned power station, owned by Tritax Big Box, was approved by Dartford council in June .
The brownfield site is being developed in stages with the initial work getting under way this summer to erect the towering white skeletal frame.
Speculation has been mounting that online retail giants Amazon, an existing tenant of other Big Box sites, are to become its occupants.
It would make it the online retailer's largest fulfilment centre in Europe, eclipsing the 2m square foot centre the other side of the river in Tilbury, Essex.