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Thames Estuary Growth 

This page provides periodic updates on TGKP's engagement with action following up the work of the Thames Gateway 2050 Growth Commission and the Government's response.  This is in chronological order with the most recent items at the top.



The Growth Board held its third meeting on 5 June.  Business discussed included the draft Action Plan and the branding and communications strategy, both planned to be launched in July.


MSQ Partners were appointed to deliver communications and media relations support to the Thames Estuary Growth Board - see news story here.


On behalf of the Growth Board, invitations to tender were issued for support on communications and media relations, and a recruitment process was launched to appoint new private sector members to the Growth Board.


The Thames Estuary Growth Board held its second meeting aboard a Thames Clipper, hosted by the Port of London Authority.  After the formal business of the Board in the course of a trip upriver to Putney, the Board was joined by representatives from businesses and other organisations active on the river for a return tour as far as London Gateway DP World Port to hear about activities, plans and initiatives contributing to the economic vitality of the Thames Estuary.



On 18 December the Thames Estuary Growth Board met for the first time, chaired by Kate Willard, the Thames Estuary Envoy.  Starting with representation from the three main components of the Estuary (East London, North Kent, South Essex), the Board is expected to evolve with broader engagement of other key stakeholders including business, education, civil society and the third sector.  The Board will be developing an action plan covering agreed priorities, with a draft proposed around April 2020.  Communications will be critically important: links will be provided to any dedicated web presence as soon as possible.


On 30 October Kate Willard is announced as the new Thames Estuary Envoy - see Thames Estuary Envoy Appointed.


On 16 July, Kent County Council and London Borough of Bexley jointly hosted a conference entitled "Generating Good Growth in the Thames Estuary".  This provided an opportunity for businesses and community leaders from across the Estuary to hear more about the Government's response to the Commission's report. The conference was addressed by the Secretary of State Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, and also heard updates on some key pieces of work including the Thames Estuary Production Corridor. 

The Secretary of State also announced the start of the process for appointing a Thames Estuary Envoy - see our news item Applications invited for the role of Thames Estuary Envoy

You can read Mr Brokenshire's speech here and see news coverage of the event, including some video clips, by following this link.

On 5 July, TGKP's Chairman wrote to James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, outlining the TGKP Board's initial views on the Government's response to the Commission's report.  You can read his letter here.


TGKP and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership both participated in a Thames Estuary Development Conference on 3 April, which included reflections on the Government's response to the Growth Commission's report - see the accompanying News Release.


On 25th March 2019 the Government published its response to the Growth Commission's report.  This took the form of a Written Statement to Parliament, a letter to members of the Thames Gateway Strategic Group and a policy paper published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.  TGKP and partners' responses will appear following the local elections in May 2019.



The Leader of Kent County Council, Cllr Paul Carter, wrote to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on behalf of the Thames Gateway Strategic Group signalling local partners' intent to work with Government on new arrangements for a Thames Estuary Growth and Prosperity Board.  Click here to see Cllr Carter's letter.


The Thames Estuary Growth Commission published its report on 25th June.  The "Vision 2050" summary and supporting documents can be found here.  The Government has set both itself and organisations in the Thames Estuary area 6 months in which to respond to the Commission's report and recommendations - see MHCLG Press Notice.


Following the TGKP Board meeting on 20 February, Rob Bennett wrote a further letter to Sir John summarising some of the key issues that had emerged from the discussion - see Statements and consultation responses.  (Minutes of the meeting will appear separately once approved at the next meeting.)

On 15 March Sir John Armitt visited Medway, hosted by Medway Council, to see some of the progress that had been made on regeneration schemes and to discuss ambitions for the future.


Sir John Armitt met with the TGKP Board to hear more about our ambitions for North Kent and how the Commission might assist.  In advance of the meeting, TGKP's Chairman, Rob Bennett, wrote to Sir John setting out key issues where the Commission's support might be most impactful - see Statements and consultation responses.


Confirmation of the priorities for the Commission

On 19 December, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced the agreed priorities for the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission under Sir John Armitt's Chairmanship.  These are confirmed as:

  • Sectors – creating internationally-competitive centres of excellence that build on the corridor’s sector strengths, for example in ports and logistics, and making the most of growth sectors such as the creative industries.
  • Connectivity – making the most of planned investments such as the Lower Thames Crossing, and assessing the case for other investments that have been proposed, such as further river crossings and extending the Elizabeth Line to Ebbsfleet.
  • Communities – ensuring that people right across the corridor benefit from expected growth, including equipping them with the right skills, making sure high-quality housing is available, promoting use of the river, and enhancing the Thames Estuary’s natural environment.
  • Delivery – working closely with organisations and communities to develop a plan for delivering the vision, aligning with the Government’s intention to explore ambitious housing deals in the area.

Click here to see the Government's News Release

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, and Professor Sadie Morgan, Deputy ChairNew Commission Chair and Vice Chair announced

In March 2017 Lord Heseltine stepped down from the Commission, and in the Autumn Budget 2017 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that Sir John Armitt would be the new Chair, supported by Professor Sadie Morgan as Deputy Chair.

TGKP's Chairman, Rob Bennett, wrote to Sir John, welcoming him to his new role and reiterating TGKP's desire to engage actively with the Commission as it continues its work and produces its Report to Government in Spring 2018. 


The Call for Ideas

In July 2016 the Commissione issued a "Call for Ideas".  You can see the invitation here and also read TGKP's Response.

New Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission announced.

In his 2016 Budget speech, the then Chancellor of Exchequer announced that he was asking Lord Heseltine to lead a new Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.

The published Budget document states (paragraph 1.342):

The government has asked Lord Heseltine to lead the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.

The Commission will develop an ambitious vision and delivery plan for North Kent, South Essex and East London up to 2050. This will focus on supporting the development of high productivity clusters in specific locations. It will examine how the area can develop, attract and retain skilled workers. It will also look at how to make the most of opportunities from planned infrastructure such as the Lower Thames Crossing. It will report back at Autumn Statement 2017 with a clear and affordable delivery plan for achieving this vision.

Welcoming the announcement on behalf of TGKP, our Chairman Rob Bennett said:

"As Chairman of the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership, I welcome the announcement of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, led by Lord Heseltine.   The Budget announcement is a recognition by Government of the vital importance of the Thames Gateway to the UK’s long-term growth.  In the North Kent part of the Gateway alone we estimate there is scope to deliver an additional 58,000 homes and 59,000 jobs.  But for those new homes and jobs to be provided we need to find ways of securing new investment, especially in transport infrastructure. We will be very keen to work with Lord Heseltine and the new Commission, together with our partners in South Essex and London, to make this next phase of our long-term  ambitions for the Thames Gateway a reality."