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The future growth of Thurrock has been mapped out following the publication of the North Grays Master Plan, the seventh and final Master Plan prepared by the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation.

The Development Corporation now has a strategy for North Grays to deliver new homes and sports and leisure facilities, improve the environment and make it easier to move around. 

Key elements include:

  • Refurbishment of Blackshots Leisure Centre
  • Approximately 315 new homes to be built on the site of South Essex College
  • Relocation of William Edwards School and Sports College
  • Expansion of Woodside Primary School to meet additional demand for places
  • A new nature/heritage trail and improved access to the Mardyke Valley
  • Improved access and movement via road, foot and public transport

The Master Plan has identified an opportunity to coordinate existing local sports and leisure facilities and for the proposed refurbishment of Blackshots Leisure Centre as the basis of a sports hub in the area. 

By relocating William Edwards School and Sports College to south of the Thurrock Rugby Club, the school would have better access to the neighbouring sports facilities and be able to expand and complement its sports academy status.  Rebuilding on a new site means that the school can benefit from the best facilities in a more sustainable location.

New homes proposed on the site of South Essex College would be mainly family homes and help to pay for the relocation of the College to the new Thurrock Learning Campus in Grays town centre.

Improving the quantity and quality of open space and access to the surrounding countryside is a key part of the plans for North Grays.  Proposed enhancements include the creation of a nature area at Ron Evans Memorial Field, a new heritage/wildlife trail, improved links to the wider countryside, particularly the Mardyke Valley, and returning the vacated site of William Edwards School and Sports College to open space (Green Belt).

The Development Corporation wants to encourage the use of a range of methods of transport and the Master Plan supports the new South Essex Rapid Transport (SERT) route and proposes enhancing pedestrian routes and promotes the use of cycle links to the town centre. 

Niall Lindsay, Chief Executive of the Development Corporation said, “We now have a clear vision for improving the sports and education facilities that are important features of North Grays and to ensure residents and visitors may enjoy the benefits of improved access to the natural assets of the area.”

In order for proposals within the Master Plan to be taken forward developers will need to submit detailed planning applications. The Development Corporation has recently approved an application by the Thurrock Rugby Club for a new two-storey extension which will provide the club with upgraded changing facilities and a new gym.

With all the Master Plans now complete more detailed work continues on implementation plans across Thurrock.