by Natalie Vincent Tue 18 September 2018, 3:39 pm
The leader of Thurrock Council highlighted the borough's importance to trade and development in the UK at a networking event this morning (18 September).
Speaking to 80 investors and developers at creative industries hub High House Production Park in Purfleet, Councillor Rob Gledhill outlined his vision for Thurrock's future and investment prospect, which includes projects such as the planned £1 billion regeneration of Purfleet.
He was joined by Mike Forster, development director of property management consultancy iSec and Thurrock Council chief executive, Lyn Carpenter.
Gledhill said: "What we do here doesn't just affect Thurrock, it also affects the south-east and the whole country. Seventy per cent of all London's trade comes through our three ports here. If you come to invest in Thurrock, you're also investing in the south-east and in the whole of the UK."
He added: "Shaping the borough is what we're here to speak about. We're passionate about making sure that a place is a place; no longer will it just be [a] dormitory, or just a place of work, but a place where everybody can achieve their aspirations to live well and be here."
Forster of iSec cited Thurrock's location as a reason to invest: "Various things attracted us to Thurrock and one was the 'unrivalled location'. It's 30-odd miles from London, 50 minutes away from it and close to the M25; there is quite simply no other land mass like it close to the conurbation of London."
He spoke about the potential of the Thames: "We [iSec] are adjacent to the Thames ourselves, we have jetties. We're looking at innovative ways of how to use the water to deliver goods quicker and more efficiently, and more importantly, taking some of the traffic off the road network."
Carpenter highlighted the council's financial stability: "What makes Thurrock unique? We are probably the only authority in the country that has set a five-year balance budget; we are not looking to cut services at the council for the next five years.
"All the investment we are putting in is going to front-line services that matter most for residents around public realm, investing in medical centres, making sure that parks and open spaces are of the highest quality."
Speaking about Thurrock's work with other councils, Carpenter added: "We have been instrumental in a partnership with six other local authorities in south Essex including Brentwood, Basildon, Castlepoint and Rochford, Southend [on Sea] and we're working beyond borough boundaries which is something businesses and developers should want to hear.
"We're not just focusing on our own area, we're looking at the economic corridor within which you would be potentially interested. We're doing this because we want to, not because we've been told to, and we recognise that this can get the best for our residents and businesses."
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