The Thames Gateway remains open for business, stated its Minister Bob Neill at the key regeneration conference for the Thames Gateway.
At today’s Thames Gateway Forum, speaking to an audience of business leaders and local partners in councils and other delivery bodies, Bob Neill outlined the changing relationship with the people of Thames Gateway and said that talk of its demise was wrong.
The minister hailed achievements to date – new businesses like DP World, Ikea, Westfield and Southend Airport – all bringing skills and jobs into the area. He said that even in a time of financial restraint, it had been possible to maintain commitments to large scale projects like the ongoing £14.5 billion investment in Crossrail which will connect residents and businesses south of the river with the rest of London. And world class projects like the Sustainable Industries Park in Dagenham which provides the foundation for green technology to become the backbone of the Thames Gateway.
He announced a new Review of the Kent Thameside Strategic Transport Programme for North Kent.
He also announced he would formally be a partner in the leadership body of the Thames Gateway, simplifying the plethora of bodies into the new Thames Gateway Strategic Group.
Bob Neill said:
“Rumours of the Thames Gateway’s demise are somewhat wide of the mark. In the future the government will play its part, being a full partner in making it a better place. We will work tirelessly on the Thames Gateway’s behalf – promoting it at home and abroad, making a success of the Olympics and infrastructure schemes like Crossrail, and providing the people and places of the Thames Gateway with the tools they need to make it a success.
“But it is your Thames Gateway: its future lies in your hands. Let’s work together with the Thames Gateway Strategic Group and local people in the years ahead to continue its success. We’re putting power back in the hands of local people and their representatives.”
He also spoke with pride of the Olympic and Paralympic Games being hosted in the Thames Gateway, providing the opportunity to showcase the Gateway as a place not just to play but in which to invest. He said:
“The Games themselves will be an inspiration, but the legacy they leave will be the measure of their success. That’s why, despite the current economic climate, the government has secured in the spending review half a billion pounds to transform the games’ venues and park into a whole new district of London as well as improvements to public space in the host Boroughs.”