THURROCK councillors unanimously supported the next major step leading to the borough’s decade of regeneration delivery on Wednesday (21 December) evening.
The extraordinary meeting of the council agreed the adoption of the Thurrock Core Strategy and policies for management of development, and the development plan document.
Regeneration portfolio holder, Cllr Andy Smith said: “This is the most important strategic planning policy document this council has ever produced — it provides for growth of 26,000 jobs and 18,500 homes together with new infrastructure – green spaces, transport improvements, and community facilities over the next 15 years.”
He added: “The Core Strategy is notable by the ambitions it holds for the future of Thurrock – some of the best new jobs in logistics, retail and cultural services will be on offer in our borough and we will continue to canvass the government and others for assistance in fully implementing our plans.
“We are confident these proposals will significantly improve the lives of Thurrock’s residents through better jobs, better incomes, better opportunities and access to skills, better housing and better facilities.
“This strategy gives us a statutory, up-to-date, relevant set of policies that cover all the key planning issues. It also means developers will have a clear steer on what is acceptable development here; and this clarity and certainty will create a positive investment environment that will bring forward high-quality sustainable proposals vital to the future of Thurrock and its residents.”
The agreement is not the final step, but it replaces the 14-year-old Thurrock Local Plan, and includes major projects at Purfleet, Lakeside, London Gateway and elsewhere.
Cllr Smith said this will boost investor confidence giving Thurrock a better chance to compete for new and beneficial projects and developments in the future.
He said: “Our strategic approach has won the Planning Inspectorate’s support and they have pointed to the protection of our valued green belt from unnecessary and undesirable development as being an appropriate pillar of the plan.
“It is what I think of as our plan for jobs.”
Seconding the recommendations, Cllr Garry Hague said the strategy “contains policies on key planning activities such as housing, employment, leisure and sport, natural environment, green belt, historic environment and community facilities”.
He said: “It will support the delivery of our regeneration vision, building confidence and opportunities within our communities and the private sector who we need to invest in Thurrock.”
Both councillors were pleased with the cross-party support for the scheme and congratulated everyone who had worked on it over several years.