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Thames Gateway ‘biggest growth opportunity’ in England’s South East

23 September 2016

River Thames London Port

Despite decades of economic decline and considerable underperformance compared with the rest of England’s South East, the Thames Gateway is the region’s biggest growth opportunity.

However, good governance, strategic planning and the effective use of transport infrastructure is required for it to reach its full potential.

In evidence to the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, the RTPI has called on the government to consider how strategic planning can be coordinated across the area. The Institute has urged joint planning across council boundaries which follows good planning principles including democratic accountability, public consultation and the use of robust evidence. The expertise of Chartered Town Planners should be drawn upon in building the evidence base. 

The area has already had major investment, including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, High Speed 1, Canary Wharf, the Olympics and Crossrail. In addition, Crossrail 2, High Speed 1 (HS1) and the North Kent and South Essex lines mean it has the potential to become the best-connected corridor in and out of London. These major assets should be the basis for new growth, however, the Institute cautions high prices to use HS1 may limit its potential.

There are huge opportunities for economic growth built around advanced technological industries that would develop new skills within the local community. This would require the government to take an advanced technology, high value approach that exploits the region’s existing ports and logistics industries. The Institute has suggested future transport capacity can build on existing strengths and link to places of deprivation to ensure they are connected to jobs.

Read: RTPI response to Thames Estuary Growth Commission

Read: Strategic Planning: Effective Cooperation for Planning Across Boundaries