Our five pioneer programmes

Our five pioneer programmes

We have five programmes underway that are bringing public and private investment to benefit communities and businesses across our region.

These programmes and projects will:

  • capitalise on the natural assets of an active coast and the Thames estuary
  • strengthen our position as an economic partner to London and a gateway for the rest of the UK and the world
  • maximise the creativity, skills and entrepreneurship for which South Essex is famed.

Full Fibre Digital Connectivity

A key priority for ASELA is for every household, business and community facility to have access to affordable full fibre digital broadband connectivity by 2025.

In February 2019 ASELA won £4.4m funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to fund a first phase of rollout of fibre infrastructure. That has seen over 130km of full fibre laid across south Essex, digitally connecting 129 public sector sites including schools, GP surgeries and care homes at the very highest speeds available. This first phase has proved so successful that an extra £2.5million in government funding has been awarded to add another 100 connections and an additional 75km of fibre infrastructure.

By March 2022 ASELA will have installed over 200km of full fibre, stretching from Purfleet-on-Thames in the west to Great Stambridge in the east.

Thames Freeport

ASELA is a partner of Thames Freeport, an economic zone connecting Ford’s world-class Dagenham engine plant to the global ports at London Gateway and Tilbury, with an emphasis on introducing electric and autonomous vehicle technology along the A13 corridor into London. Thames Freeport has real potential to drive enormous growth across South Essex, with potential benefits of:

  • £5.1 billion additional GVA
  • Over £4.5 billion in new public and private investment
  • 21,000+ new jobs with many more across supply chains, with significant investment in training and skills
  • 1,700 acres of development land – much with planning consent
  • £400 million port investment into some of the most deprived areas.

SEEPARK (South Essex Estuary Park)

SEEPARK will link and nurture five varied large-scale landscapes covering 24,000 hectares – including woodland, parkland, wetland and marshland – across South Essex bringing the benefits of ecological diversity and carbon capture as well as opportunities for leisure, tourism and business.

South Essex has many natural assets – it is much greener than many would think, bordered by the Thames and with miles of inland waterways. SEEPARK is about how we use these natural assets much better – so they can be enjoyed by more people, so they offer greater natural protection against flooding and climate change and so they can make a greater contribution to our local economic success.

This ambitious project aims to create:

  • 200km of enhanced waterfront paths and 550km of cycleways to be enjoyed by residents and visitors
  • 125km2 of new flood management to protect homes and businesses
  • a network of natural landscapes totalling 24,000 hectares, including 2,500 hectares of new parks and gardens, 4,500 hectares of enhanced woodlands and 7,500 hectares of restored marshlands to tackle ecological degradation, reduce carbon in the atmosphere and improve our air quality.

Watch this video on the SEEPARK and its vision for a greener, healthier South Essex.

Infrastructure and housing

ASELA is working to bring investment in infrastructure to support accelerated housing delivery to support the economy and meet existing housing needs. Over the last 12 months a detailed pipeline of housing schemes has been developed with a specific focus on schemes that are stalled because of issues of viability.

ASELA has created a compelling case for a trailblazing strategic place-based partnership with Homes England. Now agreed in principle, by the Homes England Executive Board, it will be just one of two such partnerships in the country.

ASELA is focusing on:

  • Unblocking stalled schemes
  • Creating opportunities for small and medium sized builders in the region
  • Working in partnership with housing associations to accelerate the delivery of affordable homes.

South Essex Technical University

This business-led proposition, backed by Ford, DP World, Leonardo, Olympus and others, has the potential to transform the current higher education offering with a comprehensive and consistent portfolio of work-based learning courses, including Degree Apprenticeships, for both young people and reskilling of existing employees.

The programme will reach into the school system to encourage students from communities that wouldn’t historically have considered higher skills as attainable.

A full business case is in preparation that will map out the steps to procuring a higher education provider to offer the first tranche of degree apprenticeship courses starting in September 2023.