Look at the scale of this picture of Eastern Quarry in Kent – a building site with Queen Elizabeth Bridge in the far background, and the giant JCB more or less in the middle of the shot, which is almost lost in the size of the site. Eastern Quarry is the other side of the bisecting chalk spine road from Bluewater Shopping Centre, built in what used to be Western Quarry.
Today, in my new Cabinet role, I returned to Eastern Quarry – now part of Land Securities’ Ebbsfleet Valley development – again. I was escorted by Paul Williams, Acting Chief Executive of the Kent Thameside Regeneration Partnership, and Frank Gibson, an old friend and past Chairman of Kent County Council.
Plans for Ebbsfleet Valley are now well advanced – plans for Eastern Quarry alone run to some 6250 homes, with a further 1500 in a second phase development. Build quality and public realm – that’s streets, footways and landscaping to you and me – will be of the highest quality, with nearly 8000 homes will be set in ‘village style’ communities.
I took the photo above from the balcony at the Observatory building, where I watched as giant diggers and dumper trucks created the road through the development which will be used for Fastrack, the award-winning Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which serves the entire area with a bus every five minutes. Just look at the sheer scale of the enterprise – it’s an exciting time for North West Kent!