Attachment: 1

Southend on Sea Borough Council
Joint Report of Chief Executive & Town Clerk
and the Director of Technical & Environmental Services
The Cabinet and all Members of the Council
6th November 2002
Report prepared by : Strategic Planning Group
Thames Gateway South Essex - Draft Strategic Framework Document
(Environmental & Economic Scrutiny Committees - Executive Councillor R Weaver)
Purpose of Report
To seek members’ views on the ‘Working Papers’ which comprise the Thames Gateway South
Essex Partnership’s Draft Strategic Framework Document a copy of which has been placed in the
Members Room for inspection. These Working Papers are being used as a basis for discussion
within the Partnership as part a dynamic process for taking forward the ‘Vision’ for the Thames
Gateway South Essex area.
That the comments set out in the report be endorsed as this Council’s views on the Draft
Strategic Framework Document for Thames Gateway South Essex
Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG9)
In March 2001, Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG9) extended the Thames
Gateway eastwards to include more of Thurrock, part of Basildon District (including Basildon New
Town), the Boroughs of Castle Point and Southend and the London Southend Airport which is
largely in Rochford District. Furthermore, within RPG9 the Government has stated that
regeneration of the Thames Gateway is a regional and national priority.
The RPG 9 vision for the extended Thames Gateway is that of “a strong and diverse sub-region.
The opportunities presented by the area should be maximised to enable the Thames Gateway to
compete effectively, offering a comprehensive transport system and a quality environment for new
businesses and homes. A skilled workforce will be crucial to facilitate growth. Local communities
should derive maximum benefit from regeneration opportunities.” (RPG9 Para 4.12).
The Government’s approach to Thames Gateway has not wavered since publication of its policy
in RPG 9, nor has it’s commitment to the South Essex extension. This is underlined by recent
Policy Statements from the Government where the Deputy Prime Minister has referred to specific
regeneration and housing policies within the Thames Gateway.
The new administrative structures and policy development that are advancing under the Thames
Gateway Ministerial committee also reflect the credibility the government itself is investing in the
project. In this respect, at Pan-Gateway (Strategic Partnership) and sub-area (South Essex
Partnership) level, local authorities, Government Office, RDAs and a full range of other partners
are taking forward the agreed key areas of action and developing detailed strategies.
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The TGSE Partnership and its constituent authorities have, since its inception, been able to lever
in substantial and significant resources for regeneration projects and infrastructure works as a
result of being in the Thames Gateway. Examples in Southend include:
Funding for new South East Essex College Campus - the highest ever in the country from the Learning and Skills Council £14.2m and the Higher Education Funding Council £2m
Funding of Southend’s LTP in full and award of maximum funding for its Major Scheme
(the only one funded in the East of England Region) (£36m)
Drawing down of additional transport funding under-spend to Southend this year
Beach replenishment (£5.83m + maintenance funding).
Moreover, the 2003-2006 Business Plan for the Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership is
bidding to secure further funding allocation to the tune of £25m. This should not be seen as
the maximum but rather the start of attempts to secure more much needed infrastructure
Thames Gateway South Essex - Vision Document
The Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership was formed to develop, and facilitate delivery of,
a shared vision for the South Essex area. Through working closely with the Strategic Partnership
the goal is to ensure the delivery of the national, and regional regeneration objectives of the
Thames Gateway as set out by the Government in RPG 9 (March 2001) as well as meeting local
aspirations. To this end, and as a first step, Lord Falconer, the then Minister for Housing and
Planning and Chair of the Thames Gateway Strategic Partnership, launched the Thames
Gateway South Essex Partnership’s “Vision for the Future” on 26th September 2001.
This publication, endorsed by Lord Falconer and the Thames Gateway Strategic Partnership, sets
out a common Vision and establishes goals for the TG South Essex area. These are developed
through detailed objectives relating to six themes (and key Issues) and specific objectives for
three ‘hubs’ – Thurrock; Basildon and Castle Point; and Southend and Rochford. These ‘hubs’
are specific geographic areas where there is a commitment to building on, and developing new
strengths, whilst at the same time maintaining established linkages between a wide range of
The delivery of regeneration in South Essex is being taken forward through six Thematic
Frameworks together with a spatial focus in the Zones of Change and Zones of Influence. The
themes are based on those set out and agreed in the Vision document and are as follows:
Skills, Leaning and Employment
Transport and Infrastructure
Investment and Development
Health and Community
Marketing and Communications
The Draft Strategic Framework Document
A Draft Strategic Framework document, which brings the above six themes together, is now
nearing completion. A final Draft Framework document is expected to be presented to the
Partnership Board in December 2002 with a view to a launch of the final document in early 2003.
The Strategic Framework will be the Partnership’s prospectus for seeking projects, partners and
funding to achieve the objectives set out in the Vision document for each of the six key themes.
The strategic priorities, priority actions and appropriate delivery structure for each of these six
thematic areas set out in the Draft Document have been determined through a process of
consultation with all partners within the TGSEP. The rest of this section sets out the main
elements of the Draft Strategic Framework Document by theme.
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Theme 1: Skills, Leaning and Employment
Seven core priorities have been identified under this theme. These are - recognising and
strengthening the learning culture; enhancing business competitiveness; focussing on skills in
local communities; maximising the skills of the workforce; tackling long-term unemployment and
low skills base; improving data collection and forecasting to underpin skills strategies; and
increasing aspiration and achievement of higher level skills.
The priority actions agreed by the TGSE Partnership include:
 University campus at Southend, with student residences
 Engineering Skills Academy at Southend Airport
 Transport Academy at Port of Tilbury
 Construction and Planning training and development initiative
 Innovation Centre and Enterprise Hub network to support Zones of Change
 University provision in all Zones of Change
 New central locations for all college campuses in Zones of Change
 Major promotional campaign
 Development of L2-L4 ‘ladder of opportunity’ across all providers, with flexible study options.
A delivery mechanism has already been set up, focussing on two core aspects – learning and
qualifications for young people and those in the workforce; and basic skills and community
development skills for adults. The Education Task Force is also working on an Action Plan.
Theme 2: Transport and Infrastructure
The key objective for transport and infrastructure in seeking to realise the vision for Thames
Gateway is to secure leading edge infrastructure, particularly improved and sustainable transport.
To understand these issues more fully and to supplement other transport study findings, a
‘Movement Study’ for the corridor between London and Southend is due to be started early next
year following a tendering process to appoint appropriate consultants.
An overarching analysis of the South Essex area shows that the basic infrastructure is in place.
However, transport studies, traffic data and the findings of the Thames Gateway Freight Study1
highlight the significant transport issues that face South Essex, namely;
severe traffic congestion on the strategic routes (A127, A13 and A130),
the only direct river crossing at Dartford approaching capacity,
road freight volumes likely to increase significantly even if Government targets for
transferring road freight to rail are achieved,
rail network operating at line capacity,
no alternative rail routes are available for freight movement to the east of London adding
to rail congestion in the area.
All these factors are combining to exacerbate the congestion and poor accessibility faced by
South Essex and merely serves to emphasise that the existing transport networks are not ‘fit
for purpose’ to serve the needs of the population for 2002 and most certainly not 2021. This
situation is already detrimentally affecting the local economy.
The Framework Document recognises that to achieve the vision for Thames Gateway and to
realise the significant opportunities that the area presents for job creation, such as at Shellhaven
and major employment sites, that;
 a step change is needed in transport infrastructure and service provision,
 no one modal solution will provide the answer, an integrated approach is required, and
 to achieve the necessary improvements will involve proposals of national importance.
1 Thames Gateway Freight Study (October 2002 – prepared by Sinclair Knight Mertz on Behalf of the
Thames Gateway Partnership.
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To address these issues a transport scenario for Thames Gateway South Essex has been
developed for further discussion. This has provided the framework for the development of more
specific scenarios for the Zones of Change. These have been developed on a three-stage
approach of short term (to 2006), medium term (to 2011) and long term (to 2021) projects with
the recognition that they run in parallel and are not progressional. The starting point for
developing the medium and long-term plan is now. If we do not go for what we require
and need now then our chances of bidding in the future will be much diminished.
To achieve the vision and ‘open up’ the area to European and international markets, significant
new transport projects and infrastructure will be required that can act as the catalyst for
regeneration and growth. These are;
a multi - modal Lower Thames Crossing to remove the river ‘barrier’ to communication
within Thames Gateway, and serving the corridors between the regions, the Gateway and
mainland Europe as a strategic national route (via the Channel Tunnel),
Pursuing a new strategic link to Southend and especially an outer urban access route to
assist the east of the town,
new strategic north – south railway links to cater for passenger and freight movement and
remove the need to travel via London,
port development at Shellhaven,
a Gravesend to Tilbury rail link to improve rail freight movements,
improved east – west rail links including links to Cross Rail to serve Thames Gateway
South Essex,
developing the A13 Passenger Transport Corridor from Southend to Basildon,
creating Strategic Interchanges vital to improving seamless public transport movements,
developing the strategic transport freight loop for South Essex,
upgrading the A127 to dual 3 lane standard
upgrading the A13
creating seamless link between the A130 and A13
regenerating London Southend Airport to create an important regional airport facility with
direct links to Europe
improved information and communications technology network (broadband).
The Lower Thames Crossing would create the potential for the Thames Gateway to become a
major focus for business activity as a key transport node on international routes.
Specific scenarios for the Zones of Change include;
 improving inter –urban road links in key congested locations
developing a South Essex rapid transit system
improving railway stations
increasing use of the Thames estuary for water-based transport links
delivering the inter-urban express bus network
 enhancing public transport links across South Essex, including improved interchange facilities
and the development of Quality Partnerships and Travel Plans,
 promoting and developing environmental enhancements such as walking and cycling
facilities, including the SUSTRANS National Cycle Network.
The Zones of Change scenario for Southend also includes the need to consider the potential for
Park and Ride facilities and for improving surface access to London Southend Airport in order to
facilitate its regeneration.
Certain of the proposals contained in the transport scenario will be dependant on national
initiatives for their implementation, e.g. the Lower Thames Crossing and improvements to the
strategic network. A number will also be dependant on the actions of transport operators and the
development of effective partnerships for taking forward proposals in South Essex will be crucial
to achieving this. Others will be achieved through the Local Transport Plan process and it is the
intention of the three highway Authorities for the South Essex area, namely Thurrock, Essex and
Southend, to publish in due course updated Local Transport Plans for their respective areas
(covering the period to 2021) comprising two constituent parts, namely;
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a strategic section covering proposed transport improvements across the whole Thames
Gateway South Essex area as agreed by the Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership, and
a more detailed section covering transport proposals for their respective areas based on the
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Zones of Change.
Theme 3: Investment and Development
Bringing forward the strategic brown filed sites and redundant properties back to effective use is
both a challenge and a priority for the TGSEP. Major sites at Shell Haven, Shoeburyness, on
Canvey Island, within the Cranes Corridor in Basildon and in the town centres will act as catalysts
for attracting the right kind of development which meets the objectives of Thames Gateway South
Essex. Issues relating to the regeneration of the river and its banks, taking into account the
implications arising from the flood plain and national and international designations that apply to
much of the TGSEP coastal areas, commercial viability arising from low property values, proximity
and strategic links with London, poor economic and skill bases, poor quality environment and
image and the economic impact of transport gateways are identified as factors which require
particular focus. Priority Actions within the theme cover the following
Identify 10 priority development sites and prepare Action Plans for delivery
Develop an Innovation and Science Parks Strategy and Action Plan
Create a central Technical Team to bring forward developments
Prepare a Design Guide and Quality Framework
Town Centre rejuvenation Action Plan
Establish an Inward Investment capacity and fund a major campaign
Prepare Action Plans for Utilities, Flood and Sea Defence, Innovation
Ensure all key sites are Broadband served
Closer working with Economic Development Officers, Essex Investment Office and the private
sector is agreed as an essential element of the delivery mechanism under the theme.
Theme 4: Environment
A radically enhanced Image of the area delivered through environmental improvement is identified
as an essential precondition to the process of change and regeneration in South Essex. The
emerging thematic framework identifies a number of issues as central to bringing in this change.
These include sprawling urban areas of undistinguished layout and design, a dominant yet
inefficient and out-of-date transportation infrastructure, out-dated seaside town facilities, poor
quality countryside, dominant overhead power lines and associated infrastructure, poor access to
the countryside and the lack of awareness of environmental assets and initiatives including that of
the River.
Priority Actions identified within the framework are:
Map and develop the Green Grid
Develop a Thames Marshes Regional Park
Establish a Waste Technology Centre as a showcase for sustainable waste
management, and to support the development of the Environmental Technologies sector
Tackle the ‘key eyesores’ identified in the working documents
Prepare and carry out an Action Plan for the River Thames, to make it a real asset for
leisure and business
Two task groups (an Environment Group and a Waste Management Group) have been created to
take the agreed actions forward.
Theme 5: Health and Community
South Essex is a diverse community with significant pockets of deprivation, existing cheek by jowl
with affluence. Raising the quality of life of existing communities and facilitating new growth to
take place within the framework of sustainable communities will require investment in statutory
service s such as health, leisure, social service, police and utilities. Developing the capacity of
residents and agencies to ensure those local communities both benefit and are active in
addressing the identified needs is one of the key challenges for the Partnership. To this end a
number of actions, which also echo priorities within the pan Thames Gateway area, have been
identified as strategic priorities:
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Educational aspiration and attainment
Primary health care
Personal and community safety
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Community isolation
Housing and neighbourhood renewal
Culture and sport
Theme 6: Marketing and Communication
Despite its many strengths, the legacy of poor quality environment and low quality and declining
industrial base has encumbered the area with a somewhat negative image. Promoting a high
profile, positive image of South Essex and to market the opportunities for investment and
development is the challenge for the marketing and communications theme. This also includes
the need to enable those who live and work in the area to be confident and positive about South
Essex and its future. Under the marketing and communications theme a number of Priority
Actions have been identified at present:
Website development to support image and inward investment activity (particularly Virtual
Business Exhibition)
Branding and image campaign
EU lobbying and promotion
Quickplace development as TGSEP internal communications tool
Regeneration Hubs, Zones of Change and Zones of Influence
The Vision document for South Essex identifies three regeneration hubs to provide the local focus
for regeneration and to establish linkages between various projects and initiatives:
Thurrock – The Logistics Hub
Basildon & Castle Point – The Business Hub
Southend & Rochford – The Cultural Hub and Centre of Educational Excellence
To deliver the regeneration agenda for Thames Gateway South Essex, the partnership is focusing
efforts around these “regeneration hubs” covering those communities affected by deprivation and
regeneration needs along with key new sites and clusters which are strategically important to
South Essex. Focus is provided through the identification of key sectors within each regeneration
To provide additional clarity and focus to these initiatives further designations have been made,
as “Zones of Change” and “Zones of Influence” in line with a common approach developed within
the Pan Thames Gateway area.
Zones of Change
 Southend
 Thurrock Riverside
 Shellhaven
 Basildon
Zones of Influence
 Castle Point
 Rochford
In addition to these, waste management, recycling and environmental technologies have also
been identified within the Pan Thames Gateway area as a key sector.
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The Future Growth within Thames Gateway
On 18th of July, the Deputy Prime Minister issued a key statement, which drew attention to the
future growth of the Thames Gateway area. He insisted that “all local authorities deliver the
housing numbers set out in Regional Planning Guidance”, proposed to “accelerate the
existing proposals for significant growth in the four growth areas identified” in the RPG9
and declared that “at least 200,000 new homes could be created in the growth areas”. This
highlights Thames Gateway as a potential area for housing growth but it is set within the context
of RPG9 housing provision. The requirement is to deliver 200,000 new homes (that is inclusive of
all dwellings already in the development-planning pipeline, including those identified in the RPG9)
to a faster time frame. It is a matter of accelerated delivery rather than an additional
Lord Rooker made some further clarifications at the House of Lords (on 18th July) on issues
relating to the future growth within Thames Gateway. He acknowledged that the “ plans,
projects and vision that exists in relation to the Themes Gateway, will not work if only
housing is to be considered. They will not work without Thames Gateway crossings, and
they will not work without infrastructure being put in place before work begins on the
housing……….. The Minister further went on to say that “Essex and Kent make valuable
contributions to growth in this country, particularly through the Thames Gateway and the
vision throughout the linear city. People will not have to travel tens of miles from their
homes to work. We need jobs and sustainable communities, not only amorphous housing
estates; otherwise, we shall make the mistakes of the past”.
Thames Gateway South Essex Strategic Framework and Regional Planning Guidance
The Government has set out proposals for the reform of the planning system in its Green Paper
‘planning: delivering a fundamental change’. It introduces a two-tier system with Regional Spatial
Strategies at the strategic level and Local Development Framework Documents at the local level.
The reforms also include abolition of Structure Plans. However, the Government recognises that
“in some cases there may be a need for separate sub-regional strategies such as the one
for the Thames Gateway which cuts across three regions” (Para 10 “Making the system work
better – planning at Regional and Local Levels”).
It is considered neither realistic or appropriate to expect the regional Planning Body to develop
and deliver regeneration/growth strategies at sub regional levels, particularly as it requires local
accountability and co-ordination of the investment plans and delivery mechanisms of key
agencies such as Housing Corporation, Transport providers and RDA’s. A sub–regional
strategy for Thames Gateway South Essex is essential, therefore, and needs to be
developed in such a way that it both reflects national and regional priorities but is also
capable of being delivered at a local level, particularly through joint delivery programmes.
Within the proposed new structure for regional and local levels of planning, local accountability
and ownership will be even more important.
With the leadership of South Essex Local Authorities, the Thames Gateway South Essex
Partnership is bringing forward a framework for action under the Strategic Framework Document.
It is essential that RPG14 supports these emerging strategic overview and proposals, building on
existing strategic policy and applying it specifically to South Essex (including Southend). The
outcome of the work on the Strategic Framework Document for TGSE, therefore, will be a crucial
component of the Sub-Regional Planning Strategy for Thames Gateway South Essex within the
new Regional Planning Guidance for the East of England (RPG 14).
The emerging Strategic Framework document for Thames Gateway South Essex will play an
important part in achieving the regeneration needs of this area and should therefore be welcomed
and endorsed.
The Draft Strategic Framework and the parallel work taking place in relation to housing strategy
should form the basis for the work being taken forward in relation to future housing growth.
The Framework provides the essential basis to take forward RPG9 and Essex and Southend on
Sea Structure Plan core strategies and should be adopted as the strategy for action by all the
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stakeholders involved in the process of regenerating the Borough.
In conclusion this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Southend and South Essex
and we must now ensure that our requirements and needs are at the heart of any strategic
framework and associated documents.
Background Papers
Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG9) - March 2001
A Vision for the Future; Thames Gateway South Essex - September 2001
Draft Strategic Framework Document; Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership 2002
Thames Gateway Freight Study (prepared by Sinclair Knight Mertz on Behalf of the Thames
Gateway Partnership) - October 2002
There are no appendices attached to this report.
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