Thames GatewayThames Gateway is a marketing term for those parts of East London, Essex and Kent bordering the Thames estuary, an area perceived by central government and others as having great potential for economic growth and social advancement, and where development has the potential to relieve growth pressures now found highly unpopular and difficult to accommodate in an arc of settlements from Harlow to Reading and Haywards Heath (ie. around the other three sides of London).
Geographically, the Thames Gateway is considered to run from Westferry in the west through Docklands to Southend-on-Sea and Sittingbourne in the east. Before 2003 most conspicuous development was situated west of Beckton although housing schemes at Chafford Hundred, Chatham and Greenhithe have been substantial, a large shopping centre at Bluewater and the international station under construction at Ebbsfleet in Kent indicate future focal points that will become important further east. Commercial investors remain hesitant until transport and social infrastructure is scheduled, funded and eventually developed at a pace that supports the oft-repeated political vision.