Green light for A13 as £80 million expansion agreed

THE GOVERNMENT confirmed it will meet the estimated £80m cost of upgrading the A13 as part of its announcement on funding for the South East Local Enterprise Partnership that is charged with promoting and coordinating growth in the region.

Thurrock Council campaigned vigorously in recent months, persuading the government that the project will drive growth and regeneration across south Essex.

Leader of Thurrock Council Cllr John Kent said: “I welcome this decision – it is really good news for the economic future of the people and businesses of Thurrock and indeed across south Essex.

“Clearly our united campaign convinced ministers that as part of the Thames Gateway, Thurrock is a national economic growth hub. Indeed, major projects such as the new London Gateway Port, the expansion at the Port of Tilbury and Thames Enterprise Park, are already contributing to economic recovery and delivering jobs for our people. Others are rapidly coming on line. An enhanced A13 will help us deliver our objective of 26,000 new jobs and 18,000 new homes in Thurrock.”

The campaign enjoyed the active and enthusiastic support of local businesses and partner local authorities across south Essex.

Recognising that contribution, Cllr Kent thanked the Thurrock Business Board and Essex Chamber of Commerce in particular for their campaigning efforts and has already written to Thurrock businesses to thank them for the role they played.

He also thanked local MPs Jackie Doyle-Price and Stephen Metcalfe for joining the council-led campaign by writing to the minister in the last couple of weeks.

Cllr Kent has written to transport minister Baroness Kramer to voice the council’s gratitude that she had listened to Thurrock’s arguments and recognised the strength of the council’s case.

In addition to the A13, funding has been allocated to:

· Southend Central Area Action Plan (£7.0m)

· London Gateway/Stanford-le-Hope integrated transport package (£7.5m)

· Transport investment to address congestion and pinch points and deliver integrated and sustainable transport projects in south Essex (£50m)

Chair of TGSE, Terry Cutmore said: “This is a vote of confidence in Thames Gateway South Essex as a nationally important growth area. It is fantastic news for the economic future of the people and businesses across south Essex.

“As a partnership with local authorities and businesses we are delighted that the Government has recognised Thames Gateway South Essex as a priority for investment that will help deliver homes and jobs along our two growth corridors – the A13 and the A127.”

This announcement reinforces the importance of Thames Gateway South Essex and the crucial role that businesses and local authorities have together as TGSEP.

The partnership will continue their close working relationship with SELEP to secure further funding to deliver other growth projects.

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