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£12m of Thames Gateway funding has been made available for the Rushenden Relief Road in Kent, Department for Commun...
£12m of Thames Gateway funding has been made available for the Rushenden Relief Road in Kent, Department for Communities and Local Government minister Angela Smith announced today.

The new Rushenden Relief Road will unlock new development by linking up to the new Swale Crossing, which has seen over£100m of government investment to upgrade the local transport infrastructure.

This new scheme - championed by the South East England Development Agency - has been designed by the local community, and will create over 2,000 new homes and 90,000 square feet of commercial floor space.

The announcement was made in the House of Commons today in response to a parliamentary question from local MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Derek Wyatt.

Ms Smith said:

'This£12m contribution to the scheme will kick-start the regeneration of the area. We need to see both good quality jobs and housing being delivered in the Thames Gateway, and the Queenborough and Rushenden scheme will deliver on both fronts. The Relief Road will be the final catalyst to open up these development opportunities on the Isle of Sheppey.'

SEEDA chief executive Pam Alexander welcomed the investment:

'All the partners will be pleased that this funding has been provided to help us to take forward the community's ambitions for Queenborough and Rushenden. This scheme will build on key transport improvements already delivered in Swale. This investment demonstrates new Ministers' continuing commitment to this part of the Thames Gateway and will help us bring forward a high quality link road which will benefit the whole regeneration scheme.'


1. The DCLG's Sustainable Communities Plan, published in February 2003, outlined a strong commitment to accommodate the economic success of London and the wider South East, while also detailing action for areas of low demand and abandonment in the Midlands and North.

The Thames Gateway is the Government's flagship regeneration area. It is approximately 80,000 hectares in size, measuring 40 miles long and up to 20 miles wide, containing approximately 700,000 households and home to around 1.6 million people. The Gateway area extends from the Isle of Dogs, in London, 40 miles east to Southend, in Essex, and the Isle of Sheppey, in Kent.

The Gateway will play a key part in delivering sustainable growth for South East England. It links London and the Regions to Europe, and is an area of major economic and housing potential. As the largest collection of brownfield land near to any European capital city - some 3,000 hectares - it represents a major opportunity to address the housing shortage without large-scale release of greenbelt land, and has exceptional potential for sustainable development and economic growth.

The Gateway has the potential to deliver around 120,000 homes and a similar number of jobs. The Programme is delivered through the Thames Gateway Delivery Unit, which has invested some£450 million in its programme to date, will regenerate large areas of derelict land, deprived neighbourhoods and create the right conditions for investment.

2. SEEDA is the government funded agency responsible for the sustainable economic development and regeneration of the south east of England. SEEDA is one of DCLG's key partners in delivering the Thames Gateway project.

Both SEEDA and DCLG sit on the Swale Forward Board - the regeneration partnership that drives and co-ordinates the regeneration programme in Swale.

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