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In a submission to the Government’s Thames Estuary Commission Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price says that the area is being held back by lack of ambition and poor governance and has called for the creation of a new Mayor of South Essex.


The commission, established under Lord Heseltine, has been charged with coming up with proposals for growth across the Estuary to form the basis of proposals for the Chancellor’s autumn statement later this year.  The Commission reflects a belief by Government that both sides of the Thames Estuary offer great potential for growth which has not yet been realised.


Jackie Doyle-Price said, “Governments need to stop treating the Thames Estuary as London overspill.  We are an economic powerhouse in our own right.  London’s policymakers don’t understand the significance of the Thames as an engine of wealth creation.  Thurrock is the ports capital of the UK with huge potential for growth.  But in order to deliver our full potential we need investment in transport infrastructure to keep pace with growth.  The Thames might as well be an ocean given the poor connectivity between Kent and Essex.  There is no rail link and the only road link is the Dartford crossing.  We need a new orbital road which can be achieved by choosing the route 4 option for the new lower Thames crossing and we should also look at using more ferries.


The full potential of the Thames Estuary is unlikely to be delivered by the current structure of local government.  Local authorities are too small and easily pushed around by county councils.  At the very least we need better collaboration between local authorities in South Essex, but I support a new City headed by a Mayor who would represent everywhere from the border with London down to Southend.  The mayor would have the ambition and clout to make sure we punch our weight.  The broader vision for South Essex will not be delivered by the network of local authorities that exist at present.”