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Dartford council leader welcomes commercial space at Ebbsfleet Garden City that could create 30,000 new jobs

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 September 2016

Plans for Ebbsfleet Garden City

Plans for Ebbsfleet Garden City

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He added that investment needs to be made to improve infrastructure in the area

Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite has welcomed plans for new commercial space at Ebbsfleet Garden City that could create 30,000 new jobs.

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) has announced the creation of a new commercial centre around Ebbsfleet International Station, within commuting distance of London and Paris.

The 45,000 sq m of commercial space is expected to become a magnet for new businesses, education, research and development enterprises, and leisure and recreation.

Mr Kite said he believed firms would be eager to move to the site, but added that adequate investment in infrastructure needs to take place to support existing communities.

“We have got a huge investment in the station, and if we are going to have growth it should be right by the station,” he said

“One of the bigger issues is local roads and how it will affect existing communities. We have to make sure the investment in roads happens.

“We need a new crossing at Ebbsfleet and two new junctions at Bean. What I really want is for the junctions to be built and then we will have the capacity for growth.”

The council leader reaffirmed his support to a Lower Thames Crossing at Gravesend, which he considers to be the only viable option.

It is understood that EDC has already gauged demand for the commercial space, and local firms threatened by the proposed London Paramount theme park have also expressed an interest in the plans.

A spokesperson for businesses on the Northfleet Industrial Estate said: “Peninsula Management Group welcomes any new employment sites within the Ebbsfleet Garden City area as these are potentially suitable relocation sites for our businesses should the theme park go ahead.

“However, such sites only suit a small number of the businesses currently located on the Northfleet Industrial Estates as many of them, especially the larger ones, are businesses that would not be suitable tenants for the employment sites being proposed within Ebbsfleet Garden City.”

In addition to the commercial space, the EDC has revealed there will be upgrades to the Fastrack bus system so that 90 per cent of Garden City residents will live within five minutes of a stop.

New pedestrian bridges and walk and cycle ways will connect Swanscombe, Northfleet and Greenhithe with the rest of the Garden City as eight new urban villages are established alongside existing communities.

There will also be seven new city parks, a series of open spaces along the River Ebbsfleet and new promenade walks along the River Thames.

Earlier this year, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn slammed the speed of the development at Ebbsfleet, saying: “They’ve made 30 Ebbsfleet announcements and they’ve managed to build 368 homes – it’s 12 homes for every press release.”

But an EDC spokesperson pointed out that there will be 5,100 homes built in the garden city by the end of this parliament.

Mr Kite criticised the Labour leader’s comments: “That was idiotic and a knee jerk reaction,” he said. “I am not interested in the pace of development but in the quality of development.

“Labour seems to be saying build regardless. I don’t think that is right – we have got to be realistic.”

The EDC is holding a series of open days across the Garden City in October to inform the public about the plans, the first of which will be held at Millbrook Garden Centre, Southfleet, tomorrow (Saturday, October 1) from 10am to 2pm.

The plans will also be available to view online at ebbsfleetdc.org.uk.

MP for Dartford Gareth Johnson advised residents to scrutinise the plans.

“It is important that people view these plans, whether online or at one of the various open days,” he said.

“I have always said we need more homes to be built in the area but we need the infrastructure to match. The challenge is to ensure we have capacity for the increased population.”

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