PURFLEET-on-Thames has received a multi-million-pound funding boost from central government to support the regeneration of its town centre.
£75m has been secured from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), which will assist in bringing forward thousands of new homes, supporting local jobs and help Purfleet-on-Thames become safer, greener and healthier.
HIF bid proposals were submitted to Homes England in 2018 by Thurrock Council in conjunction with development partner Purfleet Centre Regeneration Limited, a joint venture between Swan Housing Association and developer Urban Catalyst. Together, the two organisations are creating a vibrant new riverside community in Purfleet-on-Thames.
The funding will be used by PCRL to pay for key infrastructure provision in the early phases of development, including new roads and a pedestrian and vehicular bridge over the railway line. This will allow the existing level crossing to be closed and an upgraded railway station to be delivered.
The funding will also support land acquisition, remediation and site preparation works.
Work has now started on the HIF-funded infrastructure preparatory work and the main infrastructure works will commence in February 2021 and will continue for approximately three years. The green light was given to the regeneration’s first phase in January this year, consisting of 61 new high-quality family homes, a children’s play area, and will reinstate public access to Hollow Woods and will form part of the development which has been designed to enhance the green links to Purfleet’s Conservation Area. Preliminary works are anticipated to start on site in early 2021.
The HIF funding for Purfleet-on-Thames was first announced in March this year by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Legal agreements were completed late December last year, following approval by Thurrock Council’s Cabinet earlier that month.
Once completed, the £1bn regeneration of Purfleet-on-Thames will deliver a new town centre complete with shops and restaurants and new railway station. Up to 2,850 new homes will be provided as well, alongside an Integrated Medical Centre, improved transport infrastructure and a new primary school.
The plans, approved in December 2019, also include a 1m sq. ft. ‘media village’ to support the UK’s booming TV and film industry. This will help Purfleet-on-Thames on its journey to becoming a leading creative hub, with the town already being home to High House Production Park and Royal Opera House production workshops.
Later phases will deliver a higher/further education campus creating leading facilities with a focus on health and the creative arts.
The new and existing facilities at Purfleet-on-Thames form a key part of Thames Estuary Growth Board’s Production Corridor including the Creative Estuary strategy, which seeks to elevate the Thames Estuary region to become one of the world’s leading cultural powerhouses.
Urban Catalyst, led by Ken Dytor, specialises in social infrastructure and complex mixed-use urban regeneration projects with a focus on sustainable solutions. They are currently developing a pipeline of projects throughout the UK and Europe.
Swan Housing Association is one of the largest housing providers in Essex and East London, with over 11,000 homes under management and a specialist in complex, large scale regeneration with a further 8,500 homes in the pipeline, including the 2,850 planned for Purfleet-on-Thames.
Sir Tim Laurence, chairman of PCRL, said: “The HIF funding is a major milestone in the regeneration of Purfleet-on-Thames. It will allow us to upgrade the town’s transport links and pave the way for us to deliver thousands of new high quality homes.
“Infrastructure investment like this will be crucial to unlocking the potential of regeneration projects across the UK and to meeting the government’s ambitious house-building targets.
“We look forward to starting on-site with the infrastructure works in 2021 and moving one step closer to realising our vision for a greener, healthier and safer Purfleet-on-Thames.”
The Housing Infrastructure Fund is administered and monitored by the government’s housing agency, Homes England. The programme is helping to deliver up to 300,000 new homes across England by providing local authorities with grant funding for new infrastructure, to unlock homes in areas of greatest housing demand.
Sophie White, Homes England’s Director of Infrastructure Grants, said: “We are committed to working with ambitious local authority partners seeking to meet their local housing needs through delivery of key infrastructure. Our multimillion-pound funding in the Purfleet-on-Thames scheme will help to address the complex infrastructure requirements and constraints associated with the development. This will in turn help unlock the housing sites and allow the Council and its development partner PCRL to deliver their vision for the town centre and much needed housing growth.”