Over the last 10 years there has been significant progress in delivering regeneration in Thames Gateway. In 2005 we opened doors to our new Thames Gateway office and like many other local businesses, our office has flourished. We have also recently celebrated our 10th anniversary with the release of another major research report on regeneration in the area.
Over the last 10 years there has been significant progress in delivering regeneration in Thames Gateway – notably the opening of Ebbsfleet International and London Gateway port. More exciting plans – not least the announcements of London Paramount Entertainment Resort and Ebbsfleet Garden City – are now in the pipeline. Thomson Snell & Passmore, a leading regional law firm, opened the doors to its new Thames Gateway office in 2005 with a unique survey of local business attitudes towards regeneration. Like many other local businesses, its office has flourished. It celebrates its 10th anniversary with the release of another major research report on regeneration in the area.
The original research
The 2005 research – where over 50 Thames Gateway organisations were interviewed – highlighted issues concerning businesses in infrastructure, information, strategy, management, recruitment, finance and legislation.
The research helped us engage with the local business community, Government organisations, development agencies, financial institutions and professional organisations as well as large and small businesses at a number
of TSP Plus Forum events at which we invited people from all sectors to come along and discuss the various issues that had been raised. And then the recession hit in 2008 and continued until 2013.
The last decade
To mark its 10 year anniversary, Thomson Snell & Passmore has completed another research exercise to examine how the region has changed and the outlook for the future. The research reports on the changes in 10 key areas over 10 years and provides expert opinions from business leaders and perspectives from the wider community. Kamal Aggarwal, Partner and Founder/Head of Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Thames Gateway Office who lives with his family in the area comments: “Has regeneration made the Thames Gateway more active and successful over the past 10 years? In my view the answer is undoubtedly ‘Yes’ albeit delayed and different to what was originally planned but it is now, in my view, more exciting and better aligned with the wider Kent economy. Our local authorities have been proactive and collegiate in this process. Smaller businesses (especially those in the technology, creative and service sectors) are growing. Inward investment continues to flow. Centres of academic excellence have expanded and flourished. The look and feel and the economic and social vibrancy of large parts of north Kent have improved immensely. Exciting major project announcements will further enhance the economic and social fabric of the region and act as a magnet for further inward investment. I am excited about the future”.
Highlights from the 2015 research
The new 30 page report reviews the trends and major developments over the past 10 years and presents the opinions of leading experts and influencers as well as local residents about the future.
Regeneration – Significantly more new homes, new jobs, commercial development and open spaces are planned now than were originally promised. Rather than trying to create another Canary Wharf-like office environment, the planned projects build on Kent’s traditional businesses in leisure and tourism as well as growing new technology based industries.
Infrastructure – The UK’s biggest port at London Gateway and Ebbsfleet International High Speed 1 train services have been delivered. There are further plans to accommodate recently-announced new major projects at London Paramount Entertainment Resort in Swanscombe and Ebbsfleet Garden City, including an extension of the Fastrack bus service. If one or both of these projects gains traction there will be enormous pressure to proceed with the next river crossing and Crossrail extension to Swancombe.
Construction – Over 12,000 new homes have been completed. Current plans indicate a further 40,000 homes and over a million square metres of commercial space. Private investment was encouraged by the announcement by the European Union in 2014 of the Medway-Arc Assisted Area and by the UK Government in the same year of the Ebbsfleet Garden City.
Property – Over 52,000 new homes (and 58,000 new jobs) are to be delivered over a 20 year period. The demand for more commercial property is driving a number of developments. Major developers currently involved in schemes include: Edinburgh House, Essential Land, Land Securities, Peel Holdings, Countryside and Crest Nicholson.
Business – Thames Gateway Kent’s 17,000 businesses are now dominated by two sectors: construction and professional, scientific and technical. But when combined, the accommodation/ food and arts/entertainment sectors take third place and will be boosted by the arrival of London Paramount Entertainment Resort.
Finance – 40 Thames Gateway businesses benefitted from Government backed TIGER loans between 2013 and 2014 and a host of other public sector zero interest schemes have since launched. Some banks also provided
dedicated teams and resources for the area.
Regulation – There has been over 350 major Acts passed by the Government in the last decade and a myriad of other regulations affecting all businesses as well as those in specific sectors which are important to the region such as construction, agriculture and retail/leisure.
International – Invest Thames Gateway secured 3,500 jobs through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between 2008 and 2011. 17% of jobs created or protected in the area have been from overseas companies.
People – The population of the area is projected to grow by 22% by 2035 – higher than the national average of 20%. The unemployment rate for Kent Thames Gateway is lower than UK national average. There is a major increase in those employed in professional occupations and slight increases in skilled traders and caring, leisure and other service occupations.
Culture – Whilst preserving the agricultural and maritime legacy of the past, new developments will ensure that tourism and hospitality support Kent as “The garden of England”, perhaps repositioning it internationally to become “The playground garden of England”. For a copy of the full report when it is released later in September, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 years ago, Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors opened its Thames Gateway office in Northfleet with a lone lawyer. Today, there are over 20 lawyers and six support staff at new 4,000 square feet offices in Crossways Business Park, Dartford generating income in excess of £2 million. And the firm has ambitious plans to grow further. Thomson Snell & Passmore, Corinthian House, Galleon Boulevard, Crossways Business Park, Dartford, Kent DA2 6QE Telephone: 01322 623700