Learn more about Thames Gateway
The Thames Gateway is an area of land stretching 40 miles (60 km) eastwards from East London on both sides of the River Thames and the Thames Estuary. The area, which includes much brownfield land, has been designated a national priority for urban regeneration. It stretches from Westferry in Tower Hamlets to the Isle of Sheppey.
The Thames Gateway comprises parts of 15 different local authority areas in three regions of England.
- In the East London sub region of London:
- In the East of England region (the northern section):
- In the South East England region (the southern section):
The area is home to around 1.6 million people and contains some of the most deprived wards in the country, characterised by lack of access to public transport, services, employment and affordable quality housing. Its boundary was drawn to capture the riverside strip that formerly hosted many land extensive industries, serving London and the South East, whose decline has left a legacy of large scale dereliction and contaminated land.
The area of brownfield land, farmland and marsh has been seen by successive governments and planners as having potential to act as a catalyst for the regeneration and growth and for the social advancement of the area, helping to alleviate some of the growth pressures on London and the South East. The government also believes that new private sector housing will reduce house price inflation. (See the Barker Report)
The Department for Communities and Local Government is responsible for co-ordinating the project and development will be largely delivered by the three regional development agencies: the London Development Agency (LDA - part of the Greater London Authority), the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), as well as the national regeneration agency, English Partnerships.
The Thames Gateway project aims to improve the economy of the region through the development of marshland, farmland and brownfield land, utilising major transport infrastructure provision, and through the renaissance of existing urban conurbations. Comparisons may be drawn with developments east of Paris along the Marne valley, but here a much greater area of land will be used.
 Redevelopment zones
The development is split into zones each with a different agency responsible for delivery. The zones are:
- South East
 Zones of Change
Within London there are 9 'Zones of Change' in which developments are expected to be concentrated:
In north Kent there are 4 'Zones of Change' in which developments are expected to be concentrated:
In south Essex there are 3 'Zones of Change' in which developments are expected to be concentrated:
- Basildon and Castle Point
- Southend and Rochford
Before 2003 most conspicuous development was situated west of Beckton. There have been substantial housing schemes at Chafford Hundred, Chatham and Greenhithe and there is a large shopping centre at Bluewater.
 Channel Tunnel Rail Link
Phase II of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link is currently under construction and runs through the redevelopment area from Stratford International station in Stratford City, crossing under the Thames near Dartford, to Ebbsfleet. Domestic high speed trains will also operate on the route as part of a new integrated Kent rail franchise with services terminating at St Pancras.
 Thames Gateway Bridge
Transport for London is currently proposing a bridge between Beckton and Greenwich to be called the Thames Gateway Bridge. Along with the extensions of the Docklands Light Railway across the river to Woolwich, this will improve links between to two sides of the river and it is hoped this help spur economic growth and reduce the stress on existing road transport links.
During public consultation, 85% of respondents were in favour of the proposed bridge. However 74% supported keeping the Woolwich Ferry open "in some form". (Source: TFL Board paper on the bridge) While the volume of traffic using the ferry would diminish with a new bridge open, no decisions on the future of this traditional resource have been made, except that usage and viability of the ferry will be reviewed after the TGB opens.
 Stratford City
 East London Transit
An intermodal transport scheme to connect housing developments to rail and tube.
 White Hart Triangle
 London Gateway
Proposals for a container port, to be called London Gateway, on the Essex side of the Thames, on the site of the former Shell Haven oil refinery, looks likely to be approved. . As a redevelopment of an exisiting industrial site, there is less of a detrimental environmental impact. The proposal includes plans for a large industrial and business park in the area.
Also on the Essex side of the Thames, at Southend-on-Sea the council is using money provided through the scheme to redevelop the town centre and seafront and create a "transport corridor" along the A13.
 South East
 Ebbsfleet Valley
In the area around Ebbsfleet International station an area of 790,000 m² (8.5 million sq ft) is planned as a mixed-use development including housing, retail, residential, hotel and leisure sites.
 Swanscombe Peninsula
Previously the location of the Swanscombe Cement Works, this 320 acre site, partly in both Dartford and Gravesham, is planned to have 2,700 homes and 500.000 sq ft of office space.
 Eastern Quarry
Lying between Bluewater Shopping Centre and Ebbsfleet International station, an eventual 6250 residences are planned for the 3 square kilometre site, the first to be occupied in 2008 and development stretching over a 20 year period.
 The Bridge
Lying close to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge on and around the site of the former Joyce Green Hospital, this 264 acre (1.1 km²) development will have 1.5 million square feet (140,000 m²) of business space and 1500 residences.
 Dartford Northern Gateway
In early 2006 SEEDA (The South East England Development Agency) purchased a 2.6 hectare site on the edge of Dartford which had been used by Unwins, an off-license chain, which went into administration in 2005. They also purchased the neighbouring Matrix Business Centre to protect its future. They intend to develop the site with a mixture of retail and other businesses and housing.
 Stone Castle
Stone Castle is located to the north of Bluewater Shopping Centre and will be a mix of residences, a new publicly accessible linear park in St Clement's Valley and a high quality business park set back from St Clement's Way. Phase 1 is known as Waterstone Park, where about 200 of an eventual 650 residences have been built.
 Northfleet Embankment
An industrial site of 0.74 km² with 1.9 km of river frontage. Key sites have been acquired by SEEDA to prepare for the re-development of the area, which could potentially begin once the Northfleet Cement Works moves to the Medway Valley in 2008.
 Chatham Town Centre & Waterfront
Projected to deliver 1500 new homes, plus a variety of other projects, including the Dicken's World tourist attraction (as at July 2006 under construction); refurbishment and expansion of the Pentagon shopping centre with 14000 square metres of new stores and leisure facilities; a new 'cultural quarter' centred on Medway REACH, a new 2000 seat auditorium and funding is being sought for a cable car system across the River Medway.
 Gillingham Waterfront
1000 new residences and 200 new jobs are projected to be created on this 32 hectare site by 2010.
 Rochester Riverside
Key sites have been acquired by Medway Council and other areas are being acquired SEEDA to prepare for the re-development of the area, with 30 hectares being cleared and decontaminated. Proposed plans include 1700 new residences, with building work projected to start in 2008. 2.5 kilometers of new river wall are being constructed, with the site also being raised by 2 metres.
 Strood Riverside
About 500 new homes, improved waterfront access and improved flood defenses, with completion projected by 2012.
 Temple Waterfront
A 21 hectare site with a possible 600 new homes and part of the waterfront designated for nature conservation. According to Medway Renaissance, the potential for a new railway station is being investigated.
Significant concerns have been raised because the Thames Gateway project proposes removing parts of and building on the North Kent Marshes, which are recognised as an Environmentally Sensitive Area by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and are largely covered by Sites of Special Scientific Interest. There are also fears of increased erosion.
In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development defined Sustainable Development as 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. Opponents of development have argued that promoting the ecological significance of the area by increasing public accessibility to threatened marshes and wetlands, with improved transport corridors, will cause further erosion.
Proposals for a large international airport on Cliffe Marshes were dropped from the government's white paper on air transport in 2003 after they were rejected by local residents, the local council, as well as conservation charities such as the RSPB. The plan, which would have required the raising the ground level by 15 m,  was also rejected by the Confederation of British Industry as too expensive.  However there is a judicial review underway looking at other options for airport expansion including the possibility of a floating airport off the Isle of Sheppey. BBC News report
The north of Kent has historically been a marshland area and is under great pressure by developers. In addition to the great variety of wild life found on and along the Thames, these marshes offer invaluable natural flood protection for London area, ever under threat of flooding.
Dave Wardle, of the Environment Agency, believes that "London and the Thames Estuary currently have one of the best tidal defence systems in the world."
The Environment Agency assesses these systems will provide a high standard of protection well beyond 2030. However they also advise that future development in the Thames Gateway must go hand in hand with flood risk management, and take account of future plans for flood protection. The Agency insists it is important that effective flood risk management of the whole Estuary is not prejudiced by early decisions and development on the Gateway. (Source: Audacity.org)
- Press release of Barker Report on the economic effects of building more houses in south-east England. HM Treasury, 2004. Retrieved 26 Dec 2005.
- The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East. Department for Transport (UK), 2001. Retrieved 26 Dec 2005.
- Clark, Andrew (16 Dec 2002). Thumbs down to Kent airport. The Guardian (UK national title)
 See also
- UK topics
- Expansion plans for Milton Keynes
- Stratford City
- 2012 Summer Olympics
- University of East London
 External links
- London Thames Gateway Forum
- Thames Gateway London Partnership
- Essex Thames Gateway Information Group
- The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
- London's 2012 Olympic Bid
- Maps of the area
- floating city project in the Thames Estuary
- Medway Renaissance
- SEEDA - the South East England Development Agency