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Spanning 40 miles and three government regions, the Thames Gateway is the largest single regeneration initiative in North West Europe and the largest area of brownfield land in the South East of England. The area is going to see substantial economic, employment and housing growth. The vision for the Thames Gateway is one of sustainable growth. Building an inclusive and adaptive economy, a well trained workforce, high value inward investment and first class innovation, so ensuring a truly sustainable environment, making it the perfect place to live, work and invest.
SEEDA is actively engaged with the other two development agencies in the Greater South East – the London Development Agency (LDA) and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) to fully exploit the wider Thames Gateway area. In September 2008 we jointly produced an Economic Development Investment Plan (EDIP) to fully focus on realising the economic potential of the area, which could boost the UK economy by £12 billion each year thus creating a joined up ‘City Region’ that links Kent and Essex to the global city of London. So far in Kent alone, SEEDA through the Communities and Local Government (CLG) has invested £85 million over the past six years.
Four key spatial transformers have been identified as locations for significant growth in business and employment in the Thames Gateway, they are: Canary Wharf in London, Stratford/Lower Lea Valley, the site of the London 2012 Olympics, Shellhaven in Essex (which will boast a new deep sea container terminal) and finally Ebbsfleet Valley in Kent, which has seen the new International Station open, the domestic passengers service will start in 2009.
SEEDA is responsible for some of the most high profile regeneration projects in the South East, including a cluster of key projects within the North Kent section of the Thames Gateway. Whilst it is an area of great opportunity, the North Kent section of the Thames Gateway has some of the most deprived communities in the region and a legacy of under investment in transport and community infrastructure. SEEDA and its partners therefore have an important role to play in ensuring employment and housing growth is undertaken in a holistic manner that ensures economic, social and environmental needs are met.
The regeneration of the Thames Gateway (Kent) is expected to deliver sustainable economic growth that can meet the social, economic and environmental needs of new and existing communities equally. SEEDA is instrumental in ensuring regeneration of the key sites and working with partners to ensure strategic planning addresses the needs of all stakeholders to create truly sustainable communities.
Brownfield land has already been cleaned up and SEEDA is playing a strategic role, through its work with stakeholders, ranging from central government departments through to small local partnerships, to bring about comprehensive regeneration in this area. SEEDA has a close working relationship with the strategic partnership – the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership – which brings together the three local regeneration partnerships that comprise public and private sector players across North Kent.
SEEDA is a key partner in delivering many of the projects and is working with Kent County Council, the relevant borough councils and other agencies to identify and maximise the regeneration opportunities. From projects in their early stages, to developments currently under construction, right up to well established sites such as the award-winning Chatham Maritime, SEEDA is passionately committed to turning these often derelict brownfield sites into vibrant new communities.
Engagement and ownership from a broad range of stakeholders is critical to success and the SEEDA Kent and Medway Area Team is working closely with the Development and Infrastructure Directorate to ensure existing partnership mechanisms are utilised and that there is meaningful community engagement at all stages of development.
Key Thames Gateway projects led by SEEDA include Chatham Maritime, the agency’s flagship site in the very heart of the Thames Gateway, Queenborough and Rushenden on the Isle of Sheppey, Rochester Riverside, Dartford Northern Gateway and Northfleet Embankment.