Spanning more than 80,000 hectares, the region known as the ‘Thames Gateway’ stretches from Tower Bridge through large parts of east London, into Essex and Kent and out to the Thames Estuary.
For decades the Thames Gateway area has not benefited from any significant development. Much of the area is wasteland and used only as a repository for the capital’s refuse. The area was once home to a prosperous manufacturing community, but the steady decline in manufacturing since the 1960s/1970s has resulted in deserted derelict factories and a wasted workforce.
Traditional Thames side uses have also evolved, becoming much less dependent upon the river for transportation purposes and, with improvements in alternative transport networks, the river has become of little importance to most industrial uses. This, together with the general decline in manufacturing has brought about a change in the areas characteristics and indeed intensified the need for redevelopment on a substantial scale in an area that covers almost a quarter of the Greater London area.
Defining the Thames Gateway area has become easier as inward investment in recent years has assisted in defining the characteristics, regeneration and opportunities within the Thames Gateway boundaries. This essentially is outlined by Bow in the West to Thurrock in the East and is linked by the new A13 and its adjacent land.
In the West industrial areas such as Bow and Stratford are well-established employment areas and have attracted occupiers looking to serve the City’s business areas. These service industries have until recent years been able to source competitively priced buildings whilst remaining close to the City areas where surrounding infrastructure has been poor.
Thurrock to the East is also a well established industrial area, not only due to its proximity to the once dominant Tilbury dock but also due to its road network comprising the A13, M25 and the river crossing.