Thames Enterprise Park consists of the majority of the 580 acres purchased on 28 September 2012 from the administrators of the former Coryton Refinery by a joint venture of Vopak, Greenergy and Shell.
Last year’s closure of the Coryton Refinery in Essex sparked a continuing debate over the future of domestic fuel production in the UK.
The assets of the former refinery were purchased to create an oil import and distribution terminal at Thames Oilport, which will be located predominantly at the eastern end of the site. Thames Enterprise Park’s precise boundaries will remain fluid for some years while the full extent of Thames Oilport is settled, but the enterprise park’s size is expected to reach 300-400 acres.
Thames Enterprise Park has been identified by Thurrock Council as a potential centre of excellence in energy and environmental technology, and has also been earmarked as suitable for production, power generation, storage and logistics uses, alongside supply chain companies in those sectors.
Immediately available is 110 acres on the river with jetty access, situated adjacent to London Gateway. Additional land currently occupied by the main refinery structures could become available as early as 2017 following their demolition and sale. The owners are undertaking due diligence work pending construction works to prepare serviced development plots.
Early estimates suggest that as many as 2,000 permanent jobs could be accommodated on the site, more than replacing in number those lost when the refinery closed in June 2012.
A bid was made in March 2013 to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to designate Thames Enterprise Park as an Enterprise Zone. Designation would facilitate remediation of the former-refinery land and support upgrading of the site’s existing infrastructure. Public funding is also potentially available for infrastructure and to support occupiers for education and training initiatives.
Cllr John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: “The loss of the refinery was a blow to the local economy, as well as the national one, but the ideas being put forward for the area now are really exciting, again on a local and a national – if not international – level and will enhance Thurrock’s growing position as the powerhouse of Britain’s economic recovery.”
Graham Alexander, Head of Business Development for Thames Enterprise Park, said: “The enormous potential of the site became apparent when we started receiving multiple expressions of interest from would-be occupiers despite a lack of active marketing.”
Paul Mussi, Partner of Knight Frank, who is advising, added: “This is one of the largest industrial development sites within the North Thames Gateway. Whilst it is focused on the technological industrial occupier market, it will also appeal to a multitude of different types of industrial and warehouse occupiers who want sites with good links to the London Conurbation, but need to be some distance from neighbouring residential dwellings, which tend to impact on use and development.
“Thames Enterprise Park boasts good road connections, alternative rail and sea logistics options and has excellent potential to provide development platforms. It is not surprising that we are already in serious discussions with several occupiers who are interested in relatively large tracts of land like this, which are in scarce supply elsewhere in the region.”