THURROCK Council is set for a £300million spending spree on regeneration projects, thanks to the growing popularity of the Thames Freeport logistics park.
Since 2017 when shipping firm UPS took up residence in DPWorld’s London Gateway logistics park, 12 more large companies followed and more are on the horizon.
Thurrock Council’s income from business rates at the park will allow it to borrow for regeneration projects and along with more Government and private investment, that could transform the borough in coming years.
Ruth Kelly chairman of Thames Freeport, said: “The significant investment that’s coming, not just from the Government but primarily from the private sector, is completely tied into the economic development plans of Thurrock, of Barking and Dagenham and of Havering.
“So historically while there has been that investment in infrastructure it hasn’t delivered really significant opportunities of scale for the local population but now we are absolutely determined that the investment that goes into the ports and port Dagenham is really good quality jobs for the local population.”
Ms Kelly added: “The council is on the board of the freeport and the Lyn Carpenter, Thurrock Council’s chief executive, is directly represented on the board. The plans for the use of the Government’s seed funding for instance and the economic development plans of the council are completely linked into the development of the freeport zone.
“So the local council will be able to borrow and use future business rates from the tenants that come and occupy the site. They will be able to spend about £300million on local regeneration initiatives so that will have a tremendous impact.”
Regeneration finance will work alongside Thurrock’s Towns Fund.
Ms Kelly added: “The council can invest in digital infrastructure, local transport infrastructure, in skills, in health and wellbeing and they have a comprehensive plan for the local community and that will be absolutely at the heart of what the freeport is trying to achieve.”
Alan Shaoul, UK chief finance officer of DP World: said “In quite a short period so they work out how much business rates the tenants of Tilbury and Gateway will pay. They assess that and on the back of that they borrow over a couple of years and that money can go into regeneration projects.”