Northfleet Crossrail tunnel site to create 130 new jobs
PUBLISHED: 15:34 10 February 2011
About 130 jobs would be created through the construction of homes and business units under plans to develop a site which would handle earth from the multi-billion pound Crossrail project.
Bosses at Lafarge Cement UK claim the former Blue Circle Cement Factory in Northfleet should be used to process millions of tonnes of displaced soil from tunnelling during the creation of the new line across London. A huge cement tunnel is also planned for the site.
The company, which took over control from Blue Circle in 2001, hopes to build the industrial aggregates import terminal alongside 600 homes and thousands of metres of business space.
David Simms, land and planning director of Lafarge, said: “We haven’t set targets any higher than securing planning permission because it is difficult to predict anything before that stage, but if this Crossrail plan comes off there will be activity coming to this site from April or May through to 2017 or 2018.
“If the aggregates terminal also receives planning permission, this could bring hundreds of jobs to this site and kick-start the whole process.”
The Crossrail plan was submitted to Kent County Council at the end of last year and is expected to be discussed next month. Reusable materials taken from the tunnel excavations will be recycled while the soil will be shipped down the Thames to Essex to help create a wildlife reserve under a scheme involving the RSPB.
The Northfleet project will be made possible by completion of a railway track, which will allow material to be transported directly to the site by 2012.
Cement production on-site ended in 2008, making it the last cement factory in Kent, and the iconic 550-feet kiln chimneys were demolished in April last year.
Lafarge has developed key landmarks in north Kent, including Bluewater shopping centre, Crossways Business Park, Dartford, Ingress Park in Greenhithe and proposed work in the Ebbsfleet Valley.
Mr Simms added: “There was a vision laid out in the ’90s about how this area could be transformed into a place where people want to be. What has already been delivered and what we are planning will help towards realising that vision.”
Officials from Crossrail would not comment on the scheme before it has been discussed by Kent County Council.