Regeneration of Purfleet

Regeneration of Purfleet
In this post, Kate Goodall, Commercial Consultancy Manager at Groundsure, discusses the regeneration of Purfleet, providing insight into how brownfield land can be used.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to contact Kate directly via email or by calling us on +44 (0)1273 257 755. 

The regeneration project proposed for Purfleet, a town in Thurrock, is a fantastic example of how brownfield land can be used and regenerated, bringing life and prosperity back to an area possibly considered unusable due to its industrial past.

Below you can see the masterplan for the regeneration project, which covers landscape improvements, a new school, and a remodelled railway station. It will provide shops and leisure amenities including a marina and oyster bar on a redeveloped waterfront. In addition, the masterplan includes a 56,000m² media village, which the developers claim is the first purpose-built film and TV studio complex in the UK for 50 years (1).

Purfleet 01

As you can see from the progression of historic maps below, from Groundsure’s extensive and comprehensive historic map library, this area has had a colourful industrial past!

Purfleet 02

The 1921 map shows Paper Mills in the south east and a very large chalk quarry across the centre and north. Paper Mills can cause significant land contamination and quarries are often infilled with waste; particularly in industrial areas such as this one.

Purfleet 03

In the 1946 map we see further Mills developed in the south, now noted as Board Mills and a bitumen works in the south west.

Purfleet 04

The 1966 map shows even more expansion of the mills in the south and the development of a depot in the north west. Considering that the depot comprises, for the most part, multiple tanks it’s most likely this is an oil or fuel depot – which is a particularly contaminative land use.

Purfleet 05

In the 1986 map we see the south still occupied with mills (now a legacy of over 60 years of operation in this area) and suspicions of an oil depot in the north west confirmed.

The regeneration and redevelopment plan for Purfleet is complex and is led by Thurrock Council in conjunction with Purfleet Centre Regeneration Limited (PCRL) with the aim being to provide around 2,500 new homes (2) along with all of the amenities mentioned above. The PCRL aims to have all appropriate planning consents in place this year (2017) and to commence the delivery of phase 1 of the project by late 2017 (3).  The project is a very exciting one and London based developer L&Q have invested £27millon into the first phase of the project. The master plan has been created by award-winning architect Will Alsop, winner of the Stirling Prize in 2000 (4).

This is a fantastic example of using brownfield land to create a whole new town centre and inject the opportunity for job creation and more homes into an area, both of which are much needed in the UK.

Groundsure Insight Historical Maps provides the hidghest quality imagery on the market as standard. Click here for more information.


  1. The Architects’ Journal (2016). Cash boost for Alsop’s Purfleet plans
  2. Purfleet centre (page accessed March 2017, link no longer available)
  3. Purfleet Centre Regeneration (page accessed March 2017)
  4. The Construction Enquirer (2016). £1bn Purfleet regeneration development deal signed
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Jul 25, 2017

Kate Goodall