Niall Lindsay, Thurrock Thames Gateway Development chief executive, said today that the development of the Thames Gateway should not be derailed by the credit crunch as it was a major long-term project.

He was speaking to Property Week at the Thames Gateway Forum today and said the development of the region should be likened to a race without a finish line.

‘The Thames Gateway is a tremendous opportunity and failure to regenerate it would be a betrayal of the Thames Gateway’s population,’ he said. ‘It is not a one year project and hopefully this credit crunch will be a short term blip and it should not detract investor interest away from the Gateway.’

Thurrock has a number of ambitious schemes under way including the creation of the new Royal Opera House Production at High House in Purfleet.

It is also developing a skills college campus at Grays with funding University of Essex, University of East London, Anglia Ruskin University and the Learning and Skills Council.

It is also home to the Lakeside Shopping Centre and Retail Park – one of Western Europe’s largest retail schemes - and is working up development framework to present to the Secretary of State for the further development of Lakeside.

Lindsay said key issues for the region going forward is for development bodies to provide speed, clarity and certainty in its decision making while the government must push forward proposals to increase the capacity of Junction 30 on the M25 so it can support further development.