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LONDON-As the builders of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Ebbsfleet in north Kent to the tunnel mouth at Folkestone handed the track over to the operators, Land Securities was presenting its plans for the massive Kent Thameside development surrounding the new terminal. Eventually more than 10.3 million sf of commercial space and 12,800 homes will be built on the 1,100-acres that Land Securities controls in five separate sites.

Massive investment in infrastructure will bring the site within a 15-minute rail journey of London’s new international rail terminal at St. Pancras, and the UK government is committed to promoting development in the Thames Gateway as a counterweight to the overcrowded Thames Valley west of the city.

Land Securities’ masterplan, drawn up by Eric Kuhne Associates, breaks the holdings into five sites. The Crossways site beside the QEII Bridge over the Thames at Dartford is now nearing completion, with 2.35 million sf of office and industrial space built, and sites available for another 500,000 sf of offices and 540,000 sf of industrial space.

The most valuable of the four remaining sites is the Ebbsfleet site itself, where consent has been granted for 8.5 million sf of residential, office, retail, leisure and community uses. Land Securities Development director Tim Seddon says delivery depends on the completion date of the rail terminal itself–which is expected in 2007. But the southern part of the site, at Springhead, could be developed earlier with 550,000 sf of commercial space and 600 residential units.

The Eastern Quarry site is the subject of a planning application for 7,250 new homes and up to three million sf of commercial space. Negotiations are now under way about the level of contributions the developers will be expected to make to community facilities as part of the planning consent.

Seddon says: “Our landholdings in the Thames Gateway are central to the government’s growth plans for the Southeast and collectively represent one of Europe’s largest regeneration projects.”

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