A NEW bus route around Lakeside was launched this month and it will play an important role in the future of the area.
Cllr Richard Speight, portfolio holder for regeneration and planning, was giving his annual report to Wednesday, 25 November’s meeting of the full council.
He said: “Lakeside continues to be an absolutely vital part of Thurrock’s economic picture, employing thousands of people and bringing in thousands more to shop in the borough.
“The council is working with intu to facilitate their plans for an improved retail and leisure offer on site.
“Also particularly of interest to the council is the improvement of public transport connections around the basin. This month saw the start of the Lakeside link bus service to transport shoppers around the shopping centre and retail park.
“We are also leading on a project to bring the bus station closer to the footbridge to Chafford Hundred railway station, to encourage more people to travel onwards by public transport.”
Cllr Speight also spoke of Purfleet, describing it as a “highlight, not just in Thurrock but nationwide” and saying: “Purfleet Centre Regeneration Ltd has identified and signed up with a funding partner, London and Quadrant, who will not only bring capital, but also expertise in place-making to the project.”
He said: “This project has been bubbling under the surface for the last few years, but expect big strides next year.
“Elsewhere in Purfleet, as a council we have supported the development of one of the seven national colleges at High House Production Park which promises to further strengthen the emerging culture and media hub we have in the west of the borough and we’re working with partners in the Local Enterprise Partnership to draw in more funds to further support this.”
Cllr Speight also spoke of the “great strides” made in “delivering the vision for Grays” where “the increased footfall in the town centre has been pivotal in attracting major businesses like Weatherspoon’s to the town, with the accompanying benefits to regeneration”.
He said: “We hope that the opening of the new Magistrates’ Court business centre will further attract new commercial enterprises into Grays again.
“What is happening in Grays town centre is a great example of the virtuous circle active regeneration can bring. By intervening in a measured and strategic way, we’ve been able to improve the use of the area, attract new business and development and hopefully this will itself lead to further development. Though we’ve been successful in Grays, the work doesn’t just stop. We will continue to try to help shape the high street and town centre into a place people can be proud of.
“In the east of the borough, we continue to work with both Thames Enterprise Park, in supporting the sale of the site and with London Gateway, in bringing in new businesses to the logistics park. It is fair to say that growth has been slower at the logistics park than any of us would have liked, but the recent announcement of UPS as a tenant is a positive sign.