Work continues to progress on the innovative Thames Freeport after Thurrock Council's Cabinet once again backed the initiative and progress being made that will see transformational change.
At its meeting on Wednesday 7 July, Cabinet supported the progression of an outline business case (OBC) and full business case (FBC) as required by the government. Approval of the OBC, which will be submitted by the end of this month, and the FBC, to be presented in autumn, is a critical step towards the government officially awarding Freeport status.
The private sector led Thames Freeport bid made by DP World, Forth Ports and Ford was previously endorsed by Cabinet in January and was one of only 8 successful bids confirmed by the Chancellor in the Budget in March 2021. It will see a Thames Freeport, with Thurrock at its heart, attract billions in private sector investment over the next 25 years contributing to the delivery of many of the council's objectives including around economic growth, regeneration and levelling up for the benefit of residents and businesses.
This will drive revolutionary change in the borough, generate more than £4.5billion in new public and private investment, create 25,000 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs across industries, and see significant investment in skills, communities and infrastructure.
Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr Rob Gledhill said: "This next step in the Thames Freeport bid process is critical to ensuring that we unlock fresh opportunities and drive change for those who live and work across the whole of Thurrock, as well as future generations.
"We want our residents to have increased access to new, high quality jobs, skills and education, benefit from health and cultural improvements and for Thurrock to be even more attractive to businesses and entrepreneurs."
Cllr Mark Coxshall, Cabinet member for regeneration, strategic planning and external relationships, added: "I'm delighted to be working alongside our partners and the government as we develop this strong business case for the Thames Freeport. Work on the outline business case is moving forward rapidly to ensure we can be one of the first fully operational Freeports this year.
"This unique opportunity demonstrates Thurrock's potential within the national economy and our determination to level-up communities by tackling deprivation and disadvantage. It will bring about numerous benefits that will transform our borough and cement our status as the ports capital of the UK.
"Our vision for Thurrock includes generating thousands of jobs for those areas that need it most, and maximising the economic and social benefits that the Freeport will offer right here on our doorstep."
The full report is available online as item 21 of the Cabinet agenda, 7 July 2021.