By Ian Piper, Chief Executive, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
It’s been three years since the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation was set up and when people ask what’s happened in that time it’s very easy to show them.
There are the new communities that are coming together in Ebbsfleet Green, Castle Hill and Springhead Park. These new developments are providing a range of new homes, including those available through ‘shared ownership’, allowing many residents to get their first step on the housing ladder.
There is so much choice available, from different house builders including Redrow Homes, Countryside, Clarion, David Wilson, Charles Church and Taylor Wimpey.
And, of course, new communities need new facilities, so we are delighted to show people the new Cherry Orchard Primary School – Ebbsfleet Garden City’s first – which opened in 2017 alongside a new community centre.
We also have our first hotel, restaurant and pub called the Spring River.
Getting around the Garden City, without relying on the car is really important to us. This is why we are just about to start work on a new bridge which will provide a new bus, cycle and walking link for residents of Springhead Park directly to Ebbsfleet International.
It is why we are investing heavily in new walkways and cycleways across the area, the first of which has just opened giving people in Northfleet a direct link to the River Thames. Eventually the whole Garden City will be connected by a series of walking and cycling routes, enabling people to move freely across the whole area.
Nearby, Keepmoat are getting ready to go on site to build 600 riverfront homes which will provide a wide range of housing types.
We are proud to be one of ten NHS Healthy New Towns, ensuring we are putting healthcare at the forefront of everything we do.
We have invested many millions in vital infrastructure which will ensure the Garden City not only has adequate power supply for a lifetime but enables developers to get on site quicker and build the homes people need. We have also agreed to invest with Highways England in key improvements to the local junctions on the A2, which can now progress thanks to our intervention.
So the answer to what has been done in three years is “quite a lot”! But we know there is much more to do, the job has only just begun. We will continue to push for Crossrail to come to Ebbsfleet Garden City and open up a whole new world of travel for people from the area.
Work will continue to ensure we have a first class city centre around Ebbsfleet International that is fitting of a 21st Century Garden City. That includes our plans to create a first class healthcare and innovation quarter here.
This is not only one of the largest regeneration projects in the country, it is, in our view, also the most exciting.
New residents tell us that they love living here and that they are excited about the future and that’s one of the most rewarding things to hear.