AROUND £6 billion could be spent on improving Thurrock over the next seven years.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has submitted its plans for £1.2 billion government funding by 2021 in a bid to open up a £10 billion investment fund.

Thurrock Council leader John Kent said the scale of Thurrock’s thinking was highlighted in the regional bid.

He said it was a testament to Thurrock that the regional partners were supporting the authority’s plans and understood they were improving their own plans for growth.

Mr Kent said: “Thurrock is looking for around £357 million of government funding - matched by around £386 million from us and our partners to secure Thurrock’s £6 billion.”

“Our local development framework will create 26,000 new jobs and 18,500 new homes in Thurrock.

“This will support further development of the creative industries at High House Production Park to the growth of green technology and energy at Thames Enterprise Park.”

He said Thurrock’s part of the bid includes developing a Skills Academy for Transport and Logistics and building a post-16 network linked to local sectors and developing a package of targeted spending to get more local people into local employment.

The bid also includes Thurrock’s transport improvements, such as improving M25 Junction 30/31, widening the A13, and reducing the effect of level crossings in Thurrock.

He said: “We’re looking at tackling local transport improvements around Lakeside, London Gateway, Grays and expanding our sustainable transport schemes like creating rapid bus routes and the cycling network.

“We’re seeking funding for upgrading the A1306, tackling Thurrock’s long-standing infrastructure deficits through the growth of our Thames-side Towns, kick-starting housing growth throughout the borough by using council assets or direct development; and offering support to private landowners to secure the delivery of much needed housing on the stalled housing sites around the borough.”

He said: “All in all, Thurrock has persuaded the Local Enterprise Partnership of the national importance of its future plans, now we and our partners across the South East need to keep up the pressure on central government too.”

Local authorities including Essex, which includes Thurrock and Southend, Kent and East Sussex would all benefit.