Published: 18:59, 01 April 2019
| Updated: 19:15, 01 April 2019
The government has announced a multi-million pound investment boost to improve transport and promote growth around the Thames Estuary.
Championed by James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the raft of measures includes £1 million funding for a new Thames Estuary Growth Board to drive economic growth in the region.
Another £4.85 million has been given to help develop proposals for improved transport services between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet; and a pledge to create 1.3 million new jobs in the area by 2050.
The news was welcomed by Kent County Council leader Paul Carter and leader of Bexley Teresa O’Neill, who have worked to promote the Thames Estuary as an area ideally placed for new investment, and have both called for the extension of Crossrail services to Ebbsfleet, connecting to HS1 high-speed services and and improving services through Kent.
Cllr Carter said: “The new Thames Gateway area has greater potential to contribute to the UK economy than the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.
“The report builds directly on our work with local leaders to promote the Estuary for new private sector investment and to secure the extension of Crossrail to Ebbsfleet bringing new transport destinations and capacity for long-suffering Kent commuters.
“We are delighted with James Brokenshire’s announcement committing the Government to re-booting the Thames Gateway. In recent years, there has not been the same enthusiasm for Government investment in the Thames Estuary as for the North and this is acknowledgement of its huge potential contribution to the UK economy.
“The announcement is a major boost to local leaders and the work we have been doing to generate 'good growth', building and ‘place-shaping’ new communities and promoting high-quality living in the Estuary.”
Further pledges under the announcement include funding for the creative sector in the Thames Estuary Production Corridor, development of a Great Thames Park, support for a communications campaign to promote the Estuary, and the designation of a cabinet minister to champion delivery of the scheme.