“GRAYS is a town to be proud of” a leading MP declared as he visited the area to hear more about plans to transform and revitalise the town centre.

Secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, Robert Jenrick MP, visited Grays last Thursday and was taken on a walkabout showing where improvements will be made to the High Street – praising the breadth of ambition displayed by Thurrock Council.

Mr Jenrick said: “Grays is a town with an industrial and economic heritage to be proud of and we are backing them to thrive for years to come.

“We are serious about levelling up every part of the UK and with support from our £3.6billion Towns Fund, these places are set to be at the heart of bold proposals to share prosperity across the regions.

“It has been exciting to hear about ambitious regeneration plans for the towns. We are behind them every step of the way and I look forward to working with them as their proposals develop.”

Grays Town Centre is set to be transformed with redevelopment stretching from the Thameside Theatre to the heart of the town.

Roughly £200million in investment had already been secured, with an underpass set to be built at Grays station – which has received £11million funding from the Government through the local growth fund.

In addition, private investment is set to transform the State Cinema into a Wetherspoons pub.

There is also a plan to revitalise Grays shopping centre, which owners NewRiver say could include a gym, a hotel and food retailer.

Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price joined Mr Jenrick for the day. She said: “We Conservatives have had great ambition for Grays and Tilbury to make them the best they can be. I was very pleased to show the Secretary of State our plans and just what that additional investment can help us to achieve.

“We were able to show our ambitions to open up the access to the Thames. We were able to show our ambitions to create more homes in central Grays. We were able to show our ambitions to make Grays and Tilbury better places to live, work and play.

“I am delighted that this Conservative Government has shown its belief in Thurrock by making so much more public money available to us to deliver. Let’s do this.”