Following an announcement by Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury on Thursday about funding for the Thames Gateway, I was busy on Friday responding to the news. The Thames Gateway is a major regeneration priority and in the Kent Thameside area, we have spent the last two years bidding for Government funding of £23m towards a £200m programme of eleven major projects collectively called the Kent Thameside Strategic Transport Plan, but known locally as “Homes and Roads”.
The basic premise is that it makes more sense to ensure we have the funding in place to build infrastructure before we give planning permissions to developers. Homes and Roads enable us to commission infrastructure over five years which will support the creation of real communities, rather than just building areas of new houses without any interconnection.
It took us two years to make a sufficiently strong case for this funding to be awarded in advance of development; we asked for £13m over the first two years, and a further £10m over the last three years. In the event we’ve been granted the former, but the latter has been ‘suspended’ pending the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review later in the year.
Now our task is to work even smarter, even harder to make a strong case for the full funding submission to be awarded so we can get5 on and bring the Kent Thameside vision to life.