In November 2004 the London Development Agency (LDA) with London Borough of Bexley (LBB) and the GLA’s Architecture and Urbanism Unit (AUU) commissioned URS Corporation together with Meadowcroft Griffin Architects, Knight Frank, Steer Davies Gleave, Latz und Partner Landscape Architects, and Clarus Consulting to draw up a framework plan and regeneration strategy for Erith.
The need for this framework can be seen in the context of developments at both the regional as well as local level.
With continued population growth in London and the South East and the need for a substantial increase in the stock of housing, the Thames Gateway features as the main opportunity area for growth in London and the South East. The overall objective for the development of the Thames Gateway is to maximise the area’s potential for housing growth while at the same time ensuring the delivery of sustainable communities and the aspirations of the Mayor’s London Plan.
In the Thames Gateway context Erith is of strategic importance in contributing to these aspirations. The area’s importance is expressed through its designation as:
- Part of one of the 12 Thames Gateway Zones of Change together with Woolwich, Thamesmead and Belvedere in the London Thames Gateway Development and Investment Framework.
- An Opportunity Area within the Mayor’s London Plan.
- A focal point for targeted action in the London Development Agency’s Economic Development Strategy.
The overall aim of this work is to produce a framework plan which guides Erith into becoming a more sustainable, mixed and inclusive community offering a better quality of life for existing and future residents, visitors and businesses.
Taking both the regional and local context, the framework’s aims are:
- To support the delivery of sustainable communities in the London Thames Gateway,
- To build upon existing work,
- To bring local and regional policy agendas and initiatives together,
- To use the momentum of recent/current regeneration efforts in Erith, and thereby to maximise the regeneration benefits in a way which builds a strong identity and cohesive urban structure.
Furthermore, the framework aims to identify short, medium and longer-term improvements that will contribute to the development and regeneration of Erith as well as discrete projects, which form part of an Action Plan and enable LB Bexley to secure funding more easily.
As outlined in the brief, detailed objectives of the Erith Area Framework are to address the need to sustain:
- A flourishing local economy,
- A mixed and balanced community ensuring social cohesion,
- A better-integrated town centre,
- A safe and healthy local environment,
- Good public transport and other transport infrastructure,
- A well-integrated mix of decent homes of different types and tenures,
- Good quality local public services,
- A diverse, vibrant and creative local culture,
- A sense of place,
- High density and high quality physical development and public spaces.
The framework is asked to pay particular attention to Erith’s uniqueness and identity as a Thames Riverside town.
The work will inform the future Local Development Framework (LDF).
The framework puts forward a strategy which spans a period of up to 20 years. As such the framework aims to bring forward a balanced mix of subtle and ambitious changes in Erith, which contains blue sky thinking rooted in realistic potential. The development proposals have a distinctive time dimension to them, i.e. short (1-5 years), medium (6-10 years), and long-term (11-15 years) interventions.
The commissioning partners are looking for a spatial development strategy which can form the basis of an Area Action Plan, due to replace existing Supplementary Planning Guidelines (SPGs) drawn up for Erith in the past. In addition this document should form the basis of the Opportunity Area Planning Framework for Belvedere and Erith.
The development options brought forward in this document have been derived in a systematic and transparent way with detailed and supporting data and information attached in an appendix.
Consultations and documents
This framework has been drawn up in consultation with key stakeholders both at the local and regional level. These included:
- Local people, businesses and organisations, including the Erith and Slade Green Forum
- Landowners and developers,
- Bexley Council,
- London Development Agency,
- Greater London Authority,
- Transport for London, and
- Environment Agency.