Skip to content

The Thames Estuary Receives Nearly £110m in Levelling Up Investment

3rd November 2021

The Thames Estuary authorities of Medway, Newham, Southend-on-Sea, Thanet and Tower Hamlets were successful bidders in the first wave of levelling up funding announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Spending Review. Collectively the Estuary has been awarded £109 million, which will come from the Government’s £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund.

The plans for each area are expected to deliver training opportunities, education and employment opportunities to help address deprivation in places that need it most.

The Thames Estuary Levelling Up Data Atlas, published in May 2021 revealed the complex, often masked deprivation and the compelling evidence for levelling up the region.

Commenting on the announcements, Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board said: “I am delighted that some of the most deprived areas in our region have been awarded funding in the Chancellor’s announcement. These brilliant schemes will boost the local economy, job prospects, mental well-being, creativity and environmental endeavours in the Estuary. This is good news for levelling up our region and fulfilling the vast potential of the Estuary to play a significant role in the country’s recovery.

Deprivation here is as bad as anywhere in the UK and this Board is dedicated to ensuring that growth across the region benefits people, businesses and the environment across the Estuary.”

Some of the Estuary’s most deprived areas received funding as part of the autumn budget and comprehensive spending review announcement on Wednesday 27 October.

Newham awarded just shy of £40 million from UK levelling up fund

In the announcement, Newham was allocated £39.78 million, of the £109 million awarded to Estuary local authorities.

£19.82m has been earmarked for Newham’s Connecting to Opportunity programme related to the use of data and digital technologies. While £19.96m was awarded to Newham’s 15 Minute Neighbourhoods. This scheme will upgrade infrastructure that will promote health and wellbeing, and respond to the climate emergency.

Medway secures £14.5 million to breathe new life into historic landmarks

Medway successfully bid for £14.5million funding to invest in historic landmarks in Chatham. Three projects in Medway’s city centre will benefit to support the area’s flourishing creative sector and provide new co-working and studio spaces. This will support economic growth and create exciting job opportunities for local residents and graduates.

Southend-on-Sea set to receive £19.9m for seafront sites

Southend-on-Sea will receive £19.9m of levelling up funding for its coastal attractions and infrastructure to boost the visitor economy. Improvements will focus on Leigh Port and the Cliffs Pavilion and will help to strengthen Southend’s position as a visitor destination and support recovery by driving up footfall, visitor spend and duration of stays.

At Leigh Port improvements will include construction of a new quay wall frontage, better site access, and resurfacing of the wharf. The visitor experience at Cliff Pavilions will be improved by enhancing hospitality, guest areas, and building refurbishments.

The Council’s Capital Investment Programme will match fund a further £5.5m, and works are expected to be completed by March 2024.

Two Thanet projects to benefit from £26.1 million funding

Thanet will receive just over £26 million for two coastal regeneration schemes in Ramsgate and Margate. The proposals support the Board’s good, green growth aspirations, including hydrogen and low carbon freight.

The Ramsgate Future Project will benefit from £19.8m to redevelop the town’s port as a “green port” for the Thames Estuary. The Royal Harbour will be developed with a hotel and restaurant and will provide community teaching spaces and training kitchens in two new “community access points.”

While £6.3m has been granted to Margate Digital, to create 2000sq m of state-of-the-art, digital training space in Margate. This will bring together employers, residents and students boosting career, qualifications and skills development opportunities in local digital and creative industries.

Tower Hamlets boosted by £9.3 million investment

In Tower Hamlets, the cultural heart of Whitechapel will benefit from £9.3m investment after a successful joint bid by the council and Transport for London (TfL). Ambitious plans to improve Whitechapel Road include creating a better trading and shopping environment with new market stalls and improved market facilities and waste management. Funding will also support essential repairs to properties along the High Street, as well as 10,000 sqm of public realm works, to improve pavements, street lighting, greening and street furniture.

The works will boost the local economy, making the market a more accessible and attractive place to do business and shop. Nearby Whitechapel station has recently reopened the station entrance on Whitechapel Road and the area is expected to benefit further when the Elizabeth line opens in 2022, enhancing connectivity for residents and visitors.

Levelling up across the Estuary

The Thames Estuary Levelling Up Data Atlas shows social disparity across and within the Estuary is significant, and the challenges are as severe as anywhere within the UK. This is, in part, exemplified by the fact that seven of the twenty local authority areas across the Estuary have been identified by the government as priority locations for levelling up investment.

The Board will continue to work towards inclusive growth, and to ensure investment creates jobs and enhances prosperity in the parts of the Estuary that need it most.

Find out more about:

Levelling up in the Thames Estuary

Newham’s Levelling Up Bid

Southend-on-Sea’s Seafront Bid

Medway’s Levelling Up Bid

Thanet’s Ramsgate Future

Thanet’s Margate Digital Levelling Up Bid

Tower Hamlets Whitechapel Road Improvement Project (WRIP)