New Thames Crossing Decision Should Shape Strategic Growth Options in Thames Gateway

Announced today by DoT – majority of consul tees backed this option however Thurrock hates it.

What this route does it redefine the natural boundaries of Grays and Gravesend.  The A13 for example is no longer the obvious northern limit of Grays,  Within these areas north of Ockendon, West of Gravesend and West Tilbury offer options free of flood risk and on rail lines for potential Transit Orientated Development, where the Green Belt could be reviewed to the edge of the new road to provide a strategic long term reserve of land.

This could help solve strategic planning decisions North and South of the Thames, North of the Thames some districts notably Castelpoint cannot meet all their needs within their boundaries, south of the Thames the Lodge Hill New Settlement looks a dodgy choice in the emerging Medway local plan because of the SPA designation and protected Nightingales.  Although Green Belt the Lower Thames Crossings sites I mentioned are a much better environmental choice, Green Belt and not Brownfield but much less environmentally damaging and outside the flood affected areas to the East and nearer the Thames.  What is lacking is a coherent strategy for the lower Thames Gateway, between London and Castelpoint and Medway (the Thanet and Southend can await to solutions for the towns between themselves and London – its a phase two).  The old strategy is 20 years out of date and not particularly spatial as many of the key decisions on matters such as Crossrail and the Lower Thames Crossing were put off till now – will the National Infrastructure Commission fill the void as they are doing in the Arc?

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