BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage

Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Related BBC Sites

Contact Us

Maps & Facts

You are in: Kent > Thames Gateway > Maps & Facts > Thames Gateway: explained

Thames Gateway: explained

We have tried to make sense of what the Thames Gateway is - and work out how all the committees, councils, land owners and contractors fit in. Here goes...

What is it?

What is the Thames Gateway?

The Thames Gateway project aims to boost the economy of the whole Thames estuary region - in London, Kent and Essex - through the development of marshland, farmland and brownfield [land previously used for industrial or commercial purposes] land.

The Thames Gateway is the largest single regeneration initiative in North West Europe and the largest area of brownfield land in the South of England.

Thames Gateway

The Thames Gateway region, seen from a satellite

By regenerating town centres and building new towns from scratch, complete with new business space, shops, schools, parks and transport links, the idea is that thousands of new jobs will be created and the massive demand for housing in London and the south east will be relieved.

However, many people are concerned about building so many homes so close to the Thames Estuary [given projections of rising sea levels], about the wider environmental impact and the strain that these new communities will have on water supplies, the transport infrastructure and already scarce resources.


Bluewater shopping centre

Where is it?

The Thames Gateway is an area of land stretching 40 miles (60 km) eastwards from East London [including Stratford, the Olympic Village and Canary Wharf] on both sides of the River Thames and the Thames Estuary [as far as Southend-on-Sea and the Isle of Sheppey].


The Thames Gateway in Kent covers broadly the area east of the M25, bounded to the north by the Thames River and to the south by the A2 and the Downs. The main concentrations of population are in Medway and in the towns of Dartford, Gravesham, and Sittingbourne.

Waterstone Park

Waterstone Park. Image: Countryside Properties plc

In Kent, there are three main development sites: Kent Thameside [including Ebbsfleet Valley, The Bridge, Swanscombe Peninsula and Dartford and Gravesend town centres], Medway [Chatham Centre and waterfront, Strood, Temple and Gillingham waterfronts, and Rochester Riverside] and Swale [Queenborough and Rushenden, Sittingbourne, Kent Science Park].

Click on the links below for details about each of Kent's development sites:


On the other side of the river, large building projects are earmarked for the Thurrock, Basildon and Southend regions. But there's also the new RSPB nature reserve at Rainham Marshes.

Click on the links below for details about each of Essex's key Gateway sites:


The massive Olympic site near Stratford is the best known of the London Thames Gateway sites but, linked to 2012, is the regeneration of the whole Lower Lea Valley and London Riverside area. Ambitious plans have also been drawn up for areas of Lewisham, Woolwich, Greenwich and Bexley, south of the river.

Click on the links below for details about each of London's Thames Gateway sites:

Gateway in numbers

  • The area is currently home to around 1.6 million people
  • 160,000 homes are to be built
  • 180,000 jobs are to be created
  • £446m was earmarked in 2003 by the ODPM [now The Department for Communities and Local Government] to deliver regeneration initiatives across the Thames Gateway including £142.7m for North Kent.

Who does what?

The Department for Communities and Local Government is responsible for co-ordinating the project, whereas delivery is the responsibility of the three regional development agencies [South East England Development Agency, London Development Agency and the East of England Development Agency], in partnership with local delivery boards and local councils.

Thames Gateway

The Bridge development site. Pic: James Heartfield

Government money pays for a range of projects - including the decontamination of brownfield land, flood defences, transport infrastructure and the creation of education and health facilities.

Things can get even more complicated. In Kent for example, the buck for delivery then gets passed to the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership and then on to the three local delivery boards: Kent Thameside Delivery Board [responsible for development areas of Dartford and Gravesham Borough Councils], Medway Renaissance Partnership [Responsible for Medway] and Swale Forward [Responsible for work in Sittingbourne and on the Isle of Sheppey].

For more information on the individual sites within the Thames Gateway region, visit our Maps & Facts section

last updated: 05/06/2008 at 11:43
created: 11/01/2007

You are in: Kent > Thames Gateway > Maps & Facts > Thames Gateway: explained

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy