Non-London councils at Sitematch: Opportunity South Essex

Wed 1st February 2017, 1:54 pm

Non-London boroughs are increasingly interested in Sitematch London. Gloria Ighodaro, growth partnership director at Opportunity South Essex, tells us why

What is Opportunity South Essex and what’s your role in it?

Opportunity South Essex (OSE) is partnership governed by a private sector led board made up of six local authorities – Essex County Council, Southend On Sea Council, Thurrock Council, Basildon Borough Council, Castle Point Borough Council and Rochford District Council – and nine businesses – Stobart Group, DP World London Gateway, Port of Tilbury, C2C Rail, Chamber of Commerce, Pixelworks Limited, Southend Business Partnership, Thurrock Business Partnership and Basildon Business Partnership. The chair of the organisation, Kate Willard, is employed by Stobart Group, owner of London Southend Airport. I am the growth partnership director for OSE.

The partnership aims to raise the profile and improve the economic prosperity of South Essex for the benefit of local businesses and residents. Our vision is for South Essex to have the fastest growing and the most sustainable economy in the UK, providing opportunities for businesses, attracting inward investors and benefiting local communities. Our key priorities are focused around driving growth, connectivity, skills, housing and quality of place.

How do you think non-London councils can benefit from Sitematch?

We are keen to raise awareness of the exciting growth potential on London’s doorstep. As a partnership, we work jointly with our London partners and as such the event will give the partnership the opportunity to raise awareness and pitch to new national and international investors.

Why should developers from London be interested in out of London areas?

London is no doubt a thriving economy but one that is also becoming increasingly saturated and with the anticipated population growth, the City will soon reach full capacity in terms of having suitable and affordable premises for businesses to locate, startups and expand. The close proximity of South Essex to London, in addition to its international connectivity, makes it a much more affordable, viable and accessible place to do business, particularly as it’s only around 35-40 minutes into London with well connected road and rail infrastructure.

South Essex also plays a supportive role to central London, being a home base for more than 69,000 people employed in the capital.

What are the key opportunity sites in South Essex?

Key opportunity sites are centred around Southend, Basildon, Thurrock, Canvey Island and along the A13 and A127 growth corridors. The local authority officers involved will be available on the day of the event to answer any queries delegates may have in relation to specific sites. Some of these sites include the significant ports (London Gateway and Tilbury), logistics offer in Thurrock, Basildon town centre, Canvey Gateway Island 130, Thames View 130, Canvey Retail Park and Better Queensway (Southend).

What kind of development partners are you looking for at Sitematch London 2017?

Predominantly funders, investors and occupiers. The partnership is also keen to speak with potential developers on specific sites including the Thames Enterprise Park, DPW London Gateway and the Port of Tilbury.  Overall, OSE seeks to secure the much needed investment to unlock its major growth sites.

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