4: Spatial Policies


Core Strategic Spatial Policies - These policies set out the spatial distribution, broad locations, allocations and key strategic schemes throughout Thurrock. This is outlined in 5 main themes that are important within Thurrock.

CSSP1 Sustainable Housing and Locations

CSSP2 Sustainable Employment Growth

CSSP3 Sustainable Infrastructure

CSSP4 Sustainable Green Belt

CSSP5 Sustainable Greengrid  



4.1 In 2003, the Thames Gateway was identified as one of the Growth Areas in the Government’s Sustainable Communities Plan. Thurrock is located strategically within the Thames Gateway and has been identified by regional government as a driver for economic and housing growth within this sub-region. The Council will focus on this strategic context for Thurrock in a way that will promote and deliver sustainable communities by creating places where people want to live, work and visit, and which will enable people to meet their aspirations and potential.

4.2 Housing growth will be achieved through the managed regeneration and renewal of previously developed land and if necessary through greenfield release that will be well integrated with existing neighbourhoods in Thurrock. This policy sets out the scale and broad locations of new housing development to meet the East of England Plan requirements for 18,500 new dwellings in Thurrock to be delivered over the period 2001 to 2021, which the Council considers are manageable and desirable to deliver its sustainable regeneration strategy for Thurrock.

4.3 A Plan, Monitor and Manage approach to residential land supply is required to ensure that the positive effects of regeneration are not undermined by potential negative environmental effects. The Council has prepared a Housing Trajectory, which identifies how the rolling five-year land supply relates to the current market outlook and anticipated recovery in the housing market. In addition, a 15-year supply has been identified for the period 2011 (planned adoption year) to 2026. It also shows how the overall housing allocation pans out over the Plan period. The trajectory will be updated and published in the AMR to take account of actual completions, changing market conditions and outlook.

Thurrock Strategies and Plans

4.4 Thurrock’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) contains a full assessment of the availability and suitability of all known potential housing land identified within Thurrock.  The SHLAA will be rolled forward and refreshed on an annual basis to inform the Housing Trajectory and be reported through the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR).

4.5 Through the AMR the Council has monitored the land supply in Thurrock and developed a Housing Trajectory for the plan period and beyond. The Housing Trajectory indicates that a total of 4,950 new dwellings were completed between 1st April 2001 and 31st March 2009. It is evident from the AMR that approximately 92% of these dwellings will be delivered on previously developed land in the Thurrock Urban Area over the plan period.

4.6 Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation (TTGDC) Corporate Plan 2008 – 2011 sets out the TTGDC’s approach to housing delivery to 2021.  TTGDC intends on concentrating its direct housing interventions on a number of key sites where market failure has occurred. These sites are at Purfleet Pride (Purfleet Waterside and Botany Way), Wouldham Road/Fiddlers Reach (West Thurrock), South Stifford and Tilbury Town.  The TTGDC has prepared a series of masterplans for each of these areas and for Grays, Aveley and South Ockendon. These masterplans will guide development in the respective areas.



Thurrock is required to deliver a minimum of 18,500 dwellings between 2001 and 2021. This policy makes provision through allocations at broad locations for approximately 13,550 dwellings for the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2021. Within the overall total allocation, the Council has also made an Indicative Provision for 4750 dwellings for the 5-year period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2026 in accordance with the provisions of PPS3 to provide a strategic 15-year supply from the planned date of Adoption of this DPD in 2011.

  1. New residential development will be directed to Previously Developed Land in the Thurrock Urban Area, Outlying Settlements and other existing built-up areas to protect the surrounding countryside and Green Belt. Over the period 2009 to 2021 the Council will seek to ensure that up to 92% of new residential development will be on Previously Developed Land (PDL).
  2. Development will only be permitted on greenfield and Green Belt land where it is specifically allocated for residential development and where it is required to maintain a five-year rolling housing land supply.
  3. The Council has and will continue to identify Broadly Defined Locations for the release of land within the Green Belt in accordance with Policies CSTP 1 and CSSP 4 to help maintain a rolling 5-year supply of available and deliverable housing land over the Plan period to 2026 and will maintain this rolling 5-year supply through an Annual Refresh of the SHLAA and the Annual Monitoring Report.
  4. The Council’s Strategic Spatial Housing Policy is to direct development to Broadly Defined Locations that make optimum use of Previously Developed Land both in and around the Thurrock Urban Area, at identified Outlying Settlements and within the Green Belt where appropriate, subject to section 2 and 3 below.


  1. To allocate at least 85% of new housing development in the 5-year period 2011-2016 inclusive to Previously Developed Land (PDL) locations in and around the Thurrock Urban Area, at the identified Outlying Settlements and within the Green Belt where appropriate.
  2. To allocate at least 80% of new housing development in the period 2011-2026 to PDL locations in and around the Thurrock Urban Area, at the identified Outlying Settlements and PDL locations within the Green Belt where appropriate.
  3. Identify and allocate Broadly Defined Locations for the release of land within the Green Belt in accordance with Policies CSTP 1 and CSSP 4 for the period 2011–2026 to accommodate no more than 20% of new housing development.
  4. To identify indicative Broadly Defined Locations for the release of sufficient PDL in and around the Thurrock Urban Area and at the identified Outlying Settlements together with PDL and green-field locations within the Green Belt to provide the indicative Strategic Housing Land supply from 2021 to 2026 inclusive in accordance with PPS3.


i. Thurrock Urban Area (Identified Dwelling Capacity as at 1st April 2009)

The great majority of new housing and associated development for the period 2009-2021 will be located in and around the Thurrock Urban Area Key Centre for Development and Change including:


3180 dwellings

West Thurrock/Lakeside Basin          

3365 dwellings


2605 dwellings

Tilbury including Town centre       

470 dwellings

Chadwell St Mary      

390 dwellings


10,010 dwellings

ii. Outlying Settlements north of the A13 (approximately 2100 new dwellings)

Ockendon and Aveley will be a focus for regeneration including provision for a limited number of additional homes on PDL locations under-pinned by enhancement of community infrastructure and services. This includes capacity identified for 210 dwellings on Previously Developed Land in the Green Belt.  In addition the Aveley Village Extension, South of Aveley By-pass site (340 dwellings) is shown on the Proposals Map as a release from the Green Belt as a consequence of a recent planning permission.

iii. Outlying Settlements south of the A13 (approximately 580 New dwellings)

The outlying centres of East Tilbury and Corringham/Stanford-le-hope will each be a focus for regeneration including provision for a limited number of additional homes on Brownfield land under-pinned by enhancement of community infrastructure and services. This total includes the recent consent on Green Belt land at Batafield at East Tilbury.  The housing location is shown on the Proposals Map as a release from the Green Belt as a consequence of a recent planning permission.

iv. Stanford-le-hope/Corringham Urban Extension (330 new dwellings - indicative capacity)

There will be a limited release of greenfield land at two locations on the urban fringe of Stanford-le hope / Corringham. In total the land release on the urban fringe will amount to 330 dwellings approx. No dwelling, including its curtilage, may be located on areas modelled to be Flood Zone 3b, including an appropriate allowance for climate change.  There are additional PDL sites available within the urban area.  The final site boundaries will be included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.

v. North-east Grays Urban Extension  (approximately 460 dwellings - indicative capacity)

There will be a limited release of PDL within the Green Belt that will be made available by the relocation of one school and one college currently located within the North-East of the Grays Urban Area to accommodate new homes supported by community infrastructure.  The final site boundaries will be included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.  A new “Sports Hub” of co-located leisure and sports facilities will be developed in association with the new homes and the new relocated school/college.

vi. Small Green Belt sites /Villages in Green Belt (approximately 120 new

As of 1st of April 2009 there was potential capacity for 120 dwellings (including a number with planning consent) on PDL and green-field Green Belt land at several small sites. This Policy does not preclude continuation of one-off green-field or PDL Green Belt land release for small housing sites where proposals could demonstrate “very special circumstances” in accordance with PPG2, and meet the requirements of the relevant Thematic and Development Management policies in this Plan.


The Council considers that the most appropriate Indicative Broad Locations for the long-term housing supply beyond 2021 is Previously Developed Land within the Thurrock Urban Area and outlying urban settlements.

For the Period 2021-2026 Inclusive: Indicative Locations and Capacity (based  on identified capacity)

Lakeside Basin         

2600 dwellings (approx)

Tilbury Town Centre (eco-quarter)

546 dwellings (approx)

Grays (broad location)

1935 dwellings (approx)

West Thurrock

279 dwellings (approx)

Stanford –le-hope and Corringham

250 dwellings (approx)

The total capacity of the above broad locations exceeds the target allocation of 4750 dwellings, but the Council considers it prudent to build in a measure of potential redundancy into these Indicative Locations.  The dwelling figures include provision to take account for the rolling forward of the base date for adoption of the Core Strategy.

The Council reserves its position on the final allocation of Broad Locations for the period 2021-2026 inclusive. These will be firmed up through the periodic review of the Plan.  


Broad Locations are shown on the Key Diagram and Proposals Map.
Sites will be included in the Adopted Sites Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.



4.7 The Council will encourage and develop a thriving economy in the Borough by ensuring that there is sufficient land and floorspace to accommodate projected employment growth to facilitate the continuing and emerging needs of business. The policy focus will contribute to three broad outcomes – supporting employment growth, creating the conditions required for sustainable growth in target growth sectors; and ensuring direct benefits to local communities.

4.8 The Council will plan, monitor and manage the supply of employment land to ensure and develop sufficient capacity to accommodate future employment growth and achieve an appropriate balance in supply and demand for employment land.

4.9 The evidence base to the East of England Plan (2008) requires the local authorities in the TGSE to provide an enabling context for at least 55,000 net additional jobs, of which 26,000 jobs must be delivered in Thurrock during the period 2001 to 2021. The 2008-2009 recession has effectively made this time horizon obsolete. The Council will however, seek to maintain its employment role by protecting sufficient land to accommodate this growth over the longer time horizon to 2026 and beyond as necessary. The East of England Plan (Regional Spatial Strategy) Single Issue Review: Thurrock Key Centre for Development and Change Policy (2009) considers the potential for economic growth across the Thurrock Urban Area with particular focus upon the Lakeside Basin/West Thurrock. The Council considers that the evidence base to support the contention that there is capacity in the Lakeside Basin/West Thurrock to accommodate 120,300m2 of Class B1 (Business), Class B2 (General Industrial) and Class B8 (Warehouse and Distribution) floorspace remains valid.

4.10 The adopted Regional Economic Strategy (RES) of 2008 seeks to align with the review of the RSS to 2031.  The RES identifies the Thames Gateway South Essex sub region as one of the “Engines of Growth” for the region.  Specific reference is made to Thurrock in the RES and in particular with regard to the role and need to enhance economic clusters.  There are two economic clusters identified in Thurrock as key economic drivers and future areas of development:

  • London Gateway and Tilbury Ports
  • Lakeside Basin

The strategy also highlights the potential for the area to be a niche centre in creative industries and environmental technologies including a possible bio-energy park in Thurrock.

Thurrock Strategies and Plans

4.11 The Thurrock Economic Development Strategy (2009) (TEDS), which was developed by the TTDGC in partnership with the Council. The basis of this strategy is to focus future growth upon the existing core economic sectors and the identified growth sectors. Thurrock’s core economic sectors include the international port and logistic related facilities at Tilbury and the recent approval for a deep-water port at London Gateway and the logistics and retail clusters at the Lakeside Basin / West Thurrock.

The TEDS seeks to reduce dependency upon these sectors by diversifying the economy in a manner that will not impact upon the area’s core sectors negatively or create unnecessary barriers to the continuing development of businesses in these core activities. The growth sectors identified by the TEDS could offer additional sources of new employment and contribute to economic diversification in: business services; recreation and leisure; environmental technologies; recycling and energy; creative industries; and public sector services. They provide an opportunity to broaden the economic base over the long-term period and provide new sources of employment.

The TEDS sets out five Key Strategic Economic Hubs at Purfleet; Grays; Lakeside / West Thurrock Basin; London Gateway and Tilbury. These Key Strategic Economic Hubs will collectively form the locations for employment growth across the core and growth sectors and will provide the engines of economic development and regeneration in Thurrock. New employment development will be directed to appropriate locations in the Key Strategic Economic Hubs on land identified as Primary and Secondary Industrial and Commercial Employment Land, mixed-use and other job generating land.


1. The Council will promote and support economic development in the Key Strategic Economic Hubs that seeks to expand upon their existing core sectors and/or provide opportunities in the growth sectors.

  1. The Key Strategic Economic Hubs will deliver the East of England Plan’s indicative target of 26,000 new jobs for Thurrock over the period 2001-2026 and beyond.
  2. The Key Strategic Economic Hubs and other sites will supply approximately 456 Ha (gross) of employment land, including circa 245 Ha at the London Gateway development. There is sufficient previously developed land in the Key Strategic Economic Hubs to accommodate the proposed jobs numbers with the exception of the Green Belt release North of Tilbury to provide expansion land for port related development.  The final site boundaries will be included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.
  3. The Council will direct inward investment to the Key Strategic Economic Hubs.
  4. The Council will promote Flagship Developments that will generate and provide a catalyst for securing high quality jobs in the Key Strategic Economic Hubs. The Key Economic Strategic Economic Hubs, Core and Growth Sectors and Flagship Developments are set out below.

Key Strategic Economic Hubs

Core Sectors

Growth Sectors

Flagship Developments

Indicative Job Growth


Storage and warehousing; freight transport

Business services; recreation and leisure; creative industries  

- Royal Opera House Production Facility, High House.




Business services; recreation and leisure; public sector services  

- Thurrock Learning Campus;
- Grays Community
Business Centre;
- Sustainable Business Centres and Incubators.


Lakeside Basin / West Thurrock

Retail; logistics and transport; construction

Business services; retail; recreation and leisure

- Sustainable Business Centres and Incubators

7,000 – 9,000
(subject to review of Lakeside in Local Development Documents (LDDs))


Port; logistics and transport; and construction

Business services; environmental technologies; recycling; and energy

- Tilbury Eco-Quarter;
- Expansion of Tilbury Riverside Business Centre.

1,600 – 3,800

London Gateway

Port; logistics and transport

Environmental technologies; recycling; and energy

- Training, Innovation and Research Facility;
- Business and Distribution Park.

11,000 – 13,000

Other Sites in Borough

Logistics; freight transport; small business units

Business services; small business units; cultural; leisure.

Not applicable


The above job figures give indicative figures based upon technical studies outlined in Policy CSTP6. The figures for Lakeside Basin/West Thurrock will be subject to review and identified in the Lakeside detailed chapter within the Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD.

The Lakeside detailed chapter within the Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD will identify proposals to bring forward the diversification and redevelopment of the Lakeside Basin.  This will include the assessment of new sites and the intensification of existing sites to provide increased employment from industry and commercial, mixed-use and retail and leisure sites.  Sites will be included in the Adopted Sites Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.

Policy CSTP6 sets out the Thematic Policies that address local business expansion and relocation, the future use or redundant and under-used employment sites and economic development in the Regeneration Areas and Economic Hubs.


Broad Locations are shown on the Key Diagram and Proposals Map.
Sites will be included in the Adopted Sites Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.



4.14 In order to deliver the regeneration agenda for Thurrock, it is necessary that the essential social and physical infrastructure be put in place.  There is a need to provide modern effective social and physical infrastructure and enhance the quality and provision of all public services, including health education, transport and community infrastructure. The Council will ensure that the high levels of development proposed will deliver the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time. Infrastructure funding will be secured from both the public and private sectors and the Council will work with public and voluntary bodies to create a sense of well being and pride in the community.

4.15 The delivery of the regeneration agenda for Thurrock will be a complex process that will require co-ordination amongst the key stakeholders to ensure that infrastructure is delivered alongside and, where appropriate, in advance of new development. Phasing is one of the most important aspects of delivering the quality and form of development in Thurrock. The delivery of required new infrastructure will determine how quickly certain areas can be developed and the ability of providers to deliver necessary infrastructure will need to be taken into account. The viability of public and private services, including public transport, required to support the new housing and jobs will also be dependent on land being released in a phased and logical way.

4.16 The Council is convinced a proactive Plan–led and driven approach is essential to create a “step change” in infrastructure delivery capacity and capability and to match the planned housing and employment growth. This policy is crucial to the Council demonstrating the overall sustainability and deliverability of the Strategic Spatial Development Strategy. It also must be sufficiently robust and flexible to accommodate rapid societal change and fluctuating economic conditions and any uplift in housing/employment sub-regional allocations that may result from the review of the East of England Plan.

4.17 The Thames Gateway Delivery Plan (2007) seeks to deliver the growth agenda identified in the Sustainable Communities Plan through key priority cross-Government funding. The Thames Gateway Delivery Plan provides a framework for making use of public investment, local ownership and private sector entrepreneurship for the period 2008 to 2011. Thurrock is identified as one of six priority locations in terms of local community spending allocations. The Thames Gateway Delivery Plan states that TTGDC funding proposals are set out in the Corporate Plan, which was agreed with Ministers.

4.18 The East of England Plan specifies that there has got to be a step change in the provision of transport infrastructure in order to accommodate the additional development in the Gateway. To this end, it includes Thurrock among the ‘Key Centres for Development and Change’. The East of England Plan Implementation Plan (EEPIP) (2009) seeks to bring together the East of England Plan and East of England Regional Economic Strategy through one integrated delivery document and is an important component of the Regional Implementation Framework. This document sets out the key sub-regional investment priorities for the South Essex Thames Gateway including Thurrock. 

4.19 The TTGDC currently has responsibility for the delivery of the regeneration and growth agenda in partnership with the Council and other agencies and developers. As part of that task its key role is to identify infrastructure requirements through implementation of the Regeneration Framework and Master Planning exercises and assist in the assembly of land and delivering supporting infrastructure from developer contributions from major schemes. The TTGDC Corporate Plan identifies a number of key priorities in which the TTGDC will act as the lead partner to deliver specific interventions.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

4.20 The Infrastructure Prioritisation and Implementation Programme 2006 -2021 advises on the infrastructure needed to support the levels of development planned for the Borough between 2006 and 2021. The specific objectives of the Infrastructure Prioritisation and Implementation Programme are as follows:

  • A comprehensive assessment of the infrastructure requirement, backed up by a sound argument and an evidence trail;
  • Modelling of spatial options and the impact of associated infrastructure interventions including transport modelling;
  • An understanding of the infrastructure delivery options related to the phasing of specific developments;
  • An assessment of the financial options available to the Council to deliver the infrastructure, including a revised basis for securing Section 106 investment, a municipal bond and other public / private funding sources;
  • Recommendation of a preferred delivery programme that draws together the above elements, to include an assessment of risk.

4.21 An updated version of this document (2010) was published in tandem with this DPD as the Technical Evidence Base for this policy. The Infrastructure Prioritisation and Implementation Programme provides the basis for the Infrastructure Trajectory that is appended to this Plan. It will be reviewed on an annual basis alongside the Housing Trajectory and published in the Annual Monitoring Report.


The Council has identified the Key Strategic Infrastructure Projects set out below as essential to the delivery of the Core Strategy.

Key Infrastructure Projects:

Transport and Access


M25 widening to Dual four lanes north of Junction 30.









M25 Junction 30/31 Improvements.

Lakeside, A13 Improved Accessibility East and West

A13 widening sections J30-A126 and A128-A1014.

A1014 London Gateway Improvements.

Lakeside Expansion and Diversification Transport Package.

Bus services infrastructure improvements.

South East Rapid Transit extending into Thurrock to Lakeside.

Lorry Parks at West Thurrock, Tilbury and London Gateway.


Stations: 12- car platform lengthening.

Grays Station Transport Zone and improved interchanges at other stations.

New station at West Thurrock.

Double Tracking of Grays to Upminster Railway line.

Rail-freight terminals at London Gateway and West Thurrock.

Social Community Infrastructure

Education, Learning and Skills

Thurrock Learning Campus (Grays).


An Academy of Transport and Logistics at London Gateway or Grays Learning Campus.

Schools Strategy: Primary and Secondary School Rebuild and Relocation Programme. Primary and Secondary schools rebuild and relocation programme at locations across Thurrock incorporating Further Education and other community services at selected locations including:

Post 16 Education

  1. Palmer’s Sixth Form College, Grays.
  2. Additional Sixth Form Provision - a sixth form presumption1 at Gable Hall School, sixth forms are also being put in place at the Gateway Academy, Ormiston Park and Chafford Hundred.

Secondary Education

  1. new build, refurbishment and expansion of existing mainstream secondary schools.
  2. rebuild Belhus Chase School on its existing site as Ormiston Park Academy and safeguard adjoining land for long-term expansion.
  3. the priority is to provide additional school places at existing schools in the major regeneration areas and where appropriate to relocate schools to linked facilities identified in the Plan.

Primary Education

  1. new additional primary schools in Purfleet and South Stifford.
  2. long-term a further new primary school in Grays.
  3. relocate and expand Chafford Hundred Primary School on adjoining land safeguarded for this use.
  4. Lakeside (to be addressed in other Local Development Documents).
  5. new build, refurbishment and expansion of up to 43 existing mainstream primary schools.

Health and Well-Being

Grays Community Hospital.


Development of new and improved Primary Health Facilities and GP Practice facilities across Thurrock including: Multi-hub Community Centres:  enhanced provision will be achieved through development of a network of new multi–hub Centres providing a range of services and facilities for local neighbourhoods, including some Centres located within Schools.


The “Cornerstone” project at Chadwell St. Mary where a range of public and voluntary sector services will be provided in addition to health and well-being.


Two “Sports and Well-Being Hubs” of co-located leisure and sports facilities at Belhus and North-East of Grays.


New and existing schools will provide access to sports facilities for general and specialist need.


Culture and Leisure

  1. Royal Opera House Production Facilities at Purfleet.
  2. Other cultural and leisure facilities at East Tilbury.
  3. Investment in other cultural facilities in Grays town centre including the State Cinema.
  4. Flagship leisure and cultural industries to be reviewed as part of other Local Development Documents


Development of the Greengrid Network linking major residential areas with open space.


Improving links from the river to open areas in the Green Belt.


Improved public access to and along the riverfront.


Provision of new urban open space including strategic scale Community Parks and smaller areas of open space.


Multi-hub Community Centres: provision of new and enhanced library services and community activity venues and facilities with the first project at Purfleet.


Emergency Services and Utilities


New police facilities at Purfleet.


New ambulance station will be required to meet the needs of the growing population.

Longer term relocation of Fire Service station to a new location closer to Junction 30/31.

New wastewater pipe serving Purfleet and West Thurrock Area - already planned by Anglian Water Services and due to be built by 2015.

Potential upgrades to Tilbury wastewater treatment works to treat and discharge additional wastewater flow generated by development - awaiting confirmation by Anglian Water Services.

New power station at Tilbury.

Flood Defence Infrastructure


Proposals on Key Diagram

Sites will be included in the Adopted Sites Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.

CSSP4 - Sustainable Green Belt


4.22 The Green Belt has had a profound effect on settlement development pattern within Thurrock and ensured that Thurrock has not coalesced with London. In total, the Green Belt accounts for approximately 60% of the Borough’s total land area. The remaining 40% comprises the major settlements and land comprising the proposed London Gateway Port and existing oil refinery at Coryton. Thurrock has a number of Major Developed Sites in the Green Belt. These will be identified in the Proposals Map and Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD.

4.23 The Borough’s development requirements will continue to be directed to previously developed land to promote the regeneration of derelict and under-used land within the identified Regeneration Areas. Planning applications for development within the Green Belt will be assessed against the relevant Core Thematic and Development Management policies and National Planning Policy on Green Belts.

4.24 The policy also sets out the Council’s strategic planning approach to sustaining the Green Belt in Thurrock, promoting opportunities to enhance it and the measures the Council will promote to strengthen the local landscape features, help sustain the open character of the Green Belt and secure sustainable boundaries. This includes:

  • provide opportunities for access to the open countryside for the urban population
  • provide opportunities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation near urban areas
  • retain attractive landscapes, and enhance landscapes, near where people live
  • improve damaged and derelict land around towns
  • secure nature conservation and biodiversity interest and
  • retain land in agricultural, forestry and related uses

4.25 PPG2 sets out the Government’s policy on the purpose of Green Belt and appropriate development within it. As defined by PPG2, there are five purposes for the Green Belt, all of which are particularly relevant to Thurrock given the proximity of the Borough to London’s urban area and the spatial pattern of Thurrock’s settlements and their relationship to the countryside.  The five purposes of the Green Belt are:

  • To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
  • To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another;
  • To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
  • To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
  • To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

4.26 The East of England Plan (2008) sets out the broad extent of the Green Belt in the East of England. Policy SS7 states that the broad extent of Green Belts still remains appropriate within the region and should be maintained. It is also stated that where Green Belt boundaries are reviewed, the aim should be to release sufficient land to avoid further review before 2031 and that Development Plan Documents should test whether this scale of growth after 2021 will be achievable in the local circumstances and, if not, release the maximum area commensurate with sustainable development. Policy SS8 addresses the urban fringe. The policy requires the enhancement, effective management and appropriate use of land in the urban fringe with consideration for enhancement of character and appearance and its recreational and/or biodiversity value.

4.27 The Adopted RSS policy for Thurrock confirms that a formal Statutory   Green Belt Review is not required for Thurrock at this stage. However, the on-going RSS Review 2011-2031 will consider whether such a formal Statutory Green Belt Review should be a requirement post 2011. The Council will monitor the position and put forward its proposals for the Thurrock Green Belt to 2031 in the subsequent Review of this DPD that will commence once the Review RSS 2011-2031 is adopted or successor plan.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

4.28 Transforming and Revitalising Thurrock: A Framework for Regeneration and Sustainable Growth (2005) sets out the TTGDC’s priorities and agenda for positive change in Thurrock. Policy 3 relates to the establishment of green space to facilitate growth. In reference to the Green Belt, this policy states that valuable areas of green space will continue to be protected.

4.29 The Council has tested the following policy against the Exceptional Circumstances test as set out in PPG2.

CSSP4 - Sustainable Green Belt

1. Balancing competing demands on the Thurrock Green Belt

The Council’s policy is to maintain the purpose, function and open character of the Green Belt in Thurrock in accordance with the provisions of PPG2 for the plan period.

The Council will:

  1. Maintain the permanence of the boundaries of the Green Belt, excepting the proposed Urban Extension Broad Locations Identified in this policy, Policy CSSP 1 and as shown on the Proposals Map.
  2. Resist development where there would be any danger of coalescence.
  3. Maximise opportunities for increased public access, leisure and biodiversity.

All without prejudice to and pending:

  1. The formal Review of the Thurrock Core Strategy DPD that the Council will commence in 2011 In accordance with the requirements of the proposed Localism Act and the proposed National Planning Policy Framework.

2. Locating sustainable development at Broad Locations adjoining the Thurrock Urban Area and Outlying Settlements.

The Council will direct development to the following Urban Extension Broad Locations subject to the provisions of policies CSSP1, CSSP2, CSSP3, CSTP1 and the provisions set out below:

i. Opportunities for Leisure and Sport in the Green Belt

  1. The Council’s policy is that the constructive and positive use of the Green Belt for sports and leisure purposes is an essential component of the Thurrock Spatial Strategy that will underpin the sustainable development and regeneration of Thurrock to the long-term benefit of local people.
  2. The Council will actively encourage the pursuit of leisure and sports activities appropriate to the Green Belt by improving connectivity between Thurrock’s Urban Areas and the Green Belt to promote this asset for the enjoyment and well being of Thurrock’s communities.
  3. In particular, the Council will support the development of Sports Hubs in Green Belt land at North East Grays and at Belhus (shown on the Key Diagram and included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map).

ii. Opportunities for Economic Development

 Broad Location: Tilbury Marshes

  1. The Council will support the principle of release of Green Belt land (26 Ha.) to the North of Tilbury for port-related employment use and a Strategic Lorry Park to facilitate expansion of Tilbury Port. The Council will require management arrangements to be put in place for the remainder of the Tilbury Marshes site that has important biodiversity interest and required mitigation measures to be implemented to replace lost habitat and flood storage areas.  The final site boundaries will be included in the Adopted Sites Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.

iii. Opportunities for improving for Educational provision

  1. Belhus School Site
    The Council supports the potential relocation of the school for the Ormiston Trust Academy within the Belhus School Site.
  1. Broad Location: North-East Grays – Relocation of the Secondary School and College within the Green Belt
    The Council will support the relocation of a school currently located within the Green Belt at the North Grays Broad Location as complementary development to the proposed new Sports Hub and the relocation of a college to Grays Learning Campus town centre site.  The final site boundaries will be included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map. The vacated sites will be available for housing development (See 3.I.i below)
  1. Broad Location: NE Stanford-le-hope/Corringham
    The Council will release land within the Green Belt if required to the NE of Stanford-le-hope / Corringham to provide for a new replacement secondary school (see Key Diagram).
    The vacated school site (currently “white land” in the Local Plan) would then be available for housing development.

3. Housing Land Supply to 2021

  1. The following Broad Locations have been identified as Green Belt releases to contribute to the housing supply to 2021:

(i) North East Grays – 461

(Identified potential capacity from school and college site, see 2 III.iii above)  The final site boundaries will be included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.

(ii) Stanford-le-hope – 328

(provided no dwellings, including its curtilage, is located on areas modelled to be Flood Zone 3b, including an appropriate allowance for climate change).  The final site boundaries will be included in the Adopted Site Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.

The Council considers that this relatively small-scale housing allocation on sites within the Green Belt is required to ensure a robust and deliverable policy whilst entirely reasonable and proportional to the Thurrock context.

  1. This policy approach will be reviewed with regard to the final outcome of the East of England Plan Review 2011 or successor document the evolving new Local Plans system and the proposed National Planning Policy Framework.

4. Enhancing the Green Belt

  1. Sustainable Boundaries
    The Council will seek to reinforce the Green Belt boundary through structural enhancement of the local landscape features. The Council will secure structural landscape enhancements in accordance with Landscape Character Assessments and they will be delivered by developers as part of an overall contribution package linked to development schemes.
  2. Public access, open space and biodiversity
    The implementation of the Greengrid Strategy will form a critical component of the overall Green Belt strategy to retain open character, enhance public access and secure biodiversity within Green Belt.
  3. Sustainable Design and Construction
    Developers proposing schemes within the Green Belt will have to fully comply with the relevant Thematic and Development Management policies in this plan.

5. Green Belt Alterations to Proposals Map

  1. Land excluded from the Green Belt because planning permission has been granted for housing at Batafield, East Tilbury and land south of Aveley By-pass and employment land at Ponds Farm, Purfleet.
  2. The Council proposes to include 55.3 hectares of previously safeguarded land adjacent to the former Shell Haven refinery site that was identified as oil refinery expansion land. With the cessation of the refinery use at Shell Haven and recent decision of the Secretary of State to exclude the land for development purposes from the London Gateway scheme, the land will assist in the purposes of the Green Belt in maintaining a strategic gap between the residential settlements of Stanford le hope and Corringham and the port at London Gateway.
  3. The Council proposes 1.6 hectares of land is excluded from the Green Belt that has planning permission for housing development and is part of the major development site at Orsett and is incorrectly shown in the Local Plan as Green Belt.


Broad Locations are shown on the Key Diagram and Proposals Map.
Sites will be included in the Adopted Sites Specific Allocations and Policies DPD and identified on the Proposals Map.

CSSP 5 – Sustainable Greengrid


4.30 The Thurrock Greengrid Strategy is a key priority for the Council, Local Strategic Partnership and other partners. Its principle puts the natural environment at the centre of land use management and development. This enables multifunctional land use of both public and private space and is supported by a physical network of green links for people and wildlife. In land use terms, the key elements of the Greengrid are:

  • Open space, such as parks and recreational grounds;
  • Biodiversity, including grasslands, reedbeds, hedgerow, and woodlands; and
  • Green Infrastructure, such as private gardens, street trees, road verges, green roofs, public Right of Way and greenways, cemeteries and churchyards and productive lands.

4.31 It also closely interlinks with other policy areas such as social and cultural and supports the implementation of the Local Development Framework. Some of the benefits of the delivery of the Greengrid Strategy are:

  • environmental - protecting biodiversity integrity, water and air quality, and sustaining hydrological and geological functions;
  • economic - safeguarding property values, promoting business opportunities and increasing investment confidence;
  • social / community - creating safe, well-used, attractive spaces for people to gather, celebrate and express ideas for better community cohesion;
  • health and well-being - better access to play and recreational facilities for physical health and relaxation opportunities for mental well-being;
  • educational - awareness-raising, skills development and training opportunities;
  • cultural - protecting, managing and enhancing key cultural and heritage assets; and
  • climate change - adaptation and mitigation through renewal energy technologies, carbon reduction and natural systems attenuation.

4.32 The Thames Chase Community Forest has been identified as an asset of regional significance for the retention, enhancement and provision of Green Infrastructure for its value as an area of landscape, ecological and recreational importance.  Natural England’s Green Infrastructure Guidance (2009) confirms the value of Green Infrastructure and sets out how this can be promoted through development plans, which should link into Sustainable Communities Strategies, Local Area Agreements and partnership working.

4.33 ‘Greening the Gateway’ published in 2004, set out the Government’s vision for the Thames Gateway as a world class model of sustainable development. It calls for the landscape to be regarded as ‘functional Green Infrastructure’ and suggests that the Thames Gateway should promote a high quality, functional green space network for use by local people.  The NPPF recognises the importance of green infrastructure, the principles of which are incorporated in the Green Grid.  The Council will plan positively for the creation, protection, conservation, enhancement and management of networks of biodiversity, heritage assets and green infrastructure as appropriate to their significance, and will identify opportunities to incorporate adaptation measures that will address risks associated with climate change.  The Parklands Projects are large-scale projects announced by Government in 2008 to deliver large areas of the South Essex Greengrid. Two of these projects are in Thurrock, including Wildspace, which is a project focused around the Rainham RSPB Reserve, Purfleet and the Thameside Nature Park, Mucking. The Council will actively participate in effective joint working arrangements with neighbouring local authorities in the case of those sites of importance that cross administrative boundaries.  In addition a substantial part of Thurrock lies within the Greater Thames Marshes Nature Improvement Area.  Nature Improvement Areas aim to achieve significant and demonstrable enhancements of the ecological network over large areas by such actions as increasing the size and number of, and connectively between, wildlife sites.  The proposals encompass consideration of the historic dimension of the landscape among the shared objectives for such areas and the Greengrid generally.  The Council will take account of any ecological network components and locations for priority action identified in project plans for the designated area.

Thurrock Plans and Strategies

4.34 The Greengrid Strategy for Thurrock 2006-2011 is supported by the Thurrock Open Space Strategy 2006-2011, the Thurrock Biodiversity Study 2006-2011 and the Green Infrastructure Plan for Thurrock 2006-2011. The Greengrid Strategy recognises that improved green access links between green assets is key to maximising the benefits derived from green assets for residents, workers and visitors to the Borough.  It also details the appropriate green assets to be delivered to address deficiencies and meet the needs of the growing population.  There is a need to enhance existing provision to ensure that it meets the standards set out in the Council’s Community Needs and Open Spaces Study (2005).

4.35 The Council’s Community Needs and Open Spaces Study (2005) assesses open space including parks and gardens; amenity green spaces; children’s play space; outdoor sports facilities; and allotments and community gardens.  The report sets out current provision levels, and confirms the deficit throughout the Borough.  It identifies a need to enhance existing open space provision to ensure that it meets the standards for quality, quantity and accessibility as set out in the Open Spaces Strategy 2006-2011. Based on the best available evidence and understanding of community needs the Council will designate open spaces through the forthcoming Thurrock Local Plan.  However the Council welcomes the opportunity afforded to local communities to designate additional Local Green Spaces through neighbourhood plans.  Should any such spaces be designated the Council will respect the wishes of the community that these areas be protected. 

CSSP5 – Sustainable Greengrid

It is the policy of the Council and its Partners to:

1. Deliver the Greengrid Strategy as part of the Thurrock Core Strategy Infrastructure Prioritisation and Implementation Plan and the Adopted Statutory Development Plan

  1. Ensure that all development proposals take account of the objectives of the Greengrid network and where appropriate contribute to the management and enhancement of the Greengrid.
  2. Deliver the area based Greengrid Improvement Zones to ensure that the location, planning, design and ongoing management of sites is appropriate, and that opportunities are sought to make best use of land and green infrastructure assets in delivering ecosystem services.
  3. Set out guidance for the delivery of Thurrock Greengrid in the Thurrock Greengrid Supplementary Planning Document.
  4. Ensure the Thurrock Greengrid is delivered by Developer Contributions as necessary.
  5. Provide opportunities for skills development, education and public awareness-raising on the value and importance of the Greengrid.
2. The Greengrid will be delivered at a spatial level through a series of 8 Greengrid Improvement Zones. The Improvement Zones are listed below:
  1. Aveley and South Ockendon (Including Thames Chase)
  2. Mardyke Valley
  3. West Thurrock/Lakeside/Chafford
  4. Purfleet
  5. North Grays & Chadwell St Mary
  6. Grays Riverside/ Tilbury
  7. East Thurrock / Rural Riverside
  8. Stanford-le-hope/ Corringham/ Horndon/ Langdon Hills

Across the borough, considerations will include:

  • Semi-natural green space
  • Multifunctional greenspace
  • Promotion and safeguarding of biodiversity and geodiversity
  • Urban and rural trees and woodlands
  • Historic Environment and Heritage assets
  • Ecosystem services opportunities
  • Strategic links and bridging points
  • Flood Risk and water management
  • Mitigation of and adaptation to effects of climate change through the use of natural systems and green infrastructure assets
  • Strategic views
  • Broad landscape management areas

3. Develop and protect Local Scale Assets

The Council will promote and protect Local-scale assets including any Local Green Spaces identified in local plans or neighbourhood plans that contribute to Thurrock’s sustainable Greengrid including:

  1. Doorstep sites, play areas, amenity open spaces and allotments, which are often local sites within urban areas and villages and the first link to the wider setting;
  2. Local green links, which provide vital routes for people to access local sites and the wider Rights of Way and Safe Routes to School network;
  3. Registered commons and villages and town greens;
  4. Biodiversity interests and local nature reserves, such as Linford Wood and Grove House Wood;
  5. Local productive land, including local allotments, community gardens and commercial small-holdings involved in supplying local food or craft resources.

Development within Local Green Spaces will not be permitted unless there are very special circumstances.  The Council envisages these circumstances will include where such development would support the functional value of such spaces without detracting from the visual qualities which the community may value. 

4.  In addition to the above actions, specifically support the objectives of the Greater Thames Marshes Nature Improvement Area by taking account of any core areas and buffer zones, corridors and stepping stones, restoration areas, and locations for priority action which may in due course be identified by the project plans of the Nature Improvement Area Partnership.

5. Promote productive land and natural system opportunities

The Council and Partners will promote productive land and natural systems opportunities (soils, bio and geo diversity), including:

  1. current allotments
  2. agricultural/rural lands
  3. the potential for biomass cropping in the northeast of Thurrock
  4. potential co-firing using biomass fuels in the Tilbury area
  5. the potential use of the Thames Chase Community Forest area for sustainable management of wood fuel.

Key diagrams and Maps

Map 3 provides an indicative illustration of the elements of the Thurrock Greengrid.  The precise location and extent of the Greengrid sites and the designated Greater Thames Marshes Nature Improvement Area will be identified in the forthcoming Thurrock Local Plan.

Key Diagram for Adopted Core Strategy

Key Diagram Legend

1 16-19 Capital Fund Guidance: 2007-08 onwards (LSC, December 2007).

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