Regeneration - Invest Bexley
Bexley's location at the heart of the Thames Gateway, Europe's largest regeneration initiative, is helping to secure significant new investment in housing, jobs, community infrastructure and the environment.
This is changing people's lives and contributing to thriving, cohesive and balanced communities.
Invest Bexley's Regeneration Framework provides the vision for a step change in local regeneration activity that will shape physical, social and cultural change in the borough over the next ten years and beyond.
The board brings together expertise from both public and private sector to drive forward plans that will ensure Bexley maximises its opportunities as a key player in the Thames Gateway and close neighbour of the 2012 Olympics.
Our plans have been informed by consultation with key stakeholders and take account of regional, sub-regional and local strategies.
These focus both on our position and role within the wider sub-region and on Bexley's emerging Local Development Framework, Community Strategy and targeted pieces of work on places and themes. All of this is underpinned by robust evidence and a thorough baseline assessment.
The Invest Bexley board has identified seven priorities for regeneration and creating sustainable communities:
- Secure new public transport links to improve local transport infrastructure and help secure strong, high quality connections with the wider sub-regional transport system
- Promote desirable housing for mixed communities, producing around 4000 new homes by 2016, on brownfield land, well-designed with many suitable for families and a significant proportion of affordable housing
- Develop quality community infrastructure including cultural and sporting opportunities linked to the 2012 Olympic Games and their legacy
- Improve local skill levels, so local people have a strong opportunity to compete in the local market place and beyond
- Encourage high value jobs, creating over 6000 new jobs by 2016, with employment growth in higher tech and knowledge industries
- Enhance green space
- Ensure effective project delivery, particularly enhancing the understanding and reputation of Bexley.
We start in a fairly strong position. Bexley benefits from good schools, some good quality housing neighbourhoods with amongst the lowest house prices in London, relatively low crime rates, an attractive environment with extensive open space including a long waterfront with access to the River Thames and River Cray, and a strong network of green links.
However, there are also some real challenges. Bexley's recent economic history is one of decline and under-performance.
Despite being part of the London East sub-region, the third largest economy in the country, the borough is performing relatively badly. Although unemployment levels are low, many of the borough's population are in low-paid jobs and residents' average earnings are lower than surrounding London boroughs.
Reflecting its industrial heritage, Bexley has a high proportion of people qualified to NVQ 2 or 3 but with few transferable skills. The number of 'higher end' qualifications and professions is below local and national averages with an above average number in administrative and secretarial roles.
Even with relatively low house prices, the income-to-house price ratio shows a bigger gap than in many other parts of the capital, with many working households, including those on whom we rely to provide our essential public services, still struggling to buy a home.
Much of the housing in the borough was built between 1918 and 1939. Post-war social housing contrasts in design with the private sector and is mainly in high rise developments, concentrated in north Bexley.
We know that bids for public funding must be carefully targeted to pump prime schemes the private sector will support over time.
Our strategy is therefore to focus on places:
- that experience multiple deprivation where intervention is needed to break a cycle of decline and create choice and opportunity
- with the best offer for the accommodation of well-designed housing growth on brownfield sites
- with plenty of potential for new and expanding businesses.
All of this is to be brought forward alongside projects to improve transport infrastructure, protect and enhance our environment, both locally and as part of Thames Gateway Parklands, and develop current and new cultural amenities valued locally and of wider benefit within the Thames Gateway.
We also focus on the transport systems so essential if Bexley's economy is to develop and the isolation experienced by some parts of the borough is to change. Invest Bexley and the London Borough of Bexley want to see major public transport improvements in the borough.
We want to see the Docklands Light Railway extended into Bexley, a transit system linking up Kent Fastrack with Crossrail at Abbey Wood, Oyster Card extended to the overground rail network, Crossrail built and extended out to Ebbsfleet, and 12 car trains to London.
Without this transport infrastructure we will not be able to deliver jobs and homes in a sustainable way, improve linkages with other parts of the Thames Gateway or attract and retain the more affluent working households we need to help us create better balanced, more economically viable communities.
Our main geographical focus is Bexley Riverside, including Belvedere, Crayford, Erith, Slade Green, and Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.
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