The Greater Erith Regeneration Programme

The Greater Erith programme is harnessing the entrepreneurial and creative spirit in the town to bring opportunities for regeneration and growth. The programme is dedicated to  working with the local community to help Erith become a flourishing riverside town by rejuvenating existing spaces, enabling new developments, nurturing innovation in the burgeoning maker movement and enhancing all the things that make Erith great.

About Greater Erith

Nestled on the banks of the river Thames, Erith is home to a community of makers and traders. It’s a place where ideas and inspiration flow, where poetry rhymes meet sailing lines.

Erith is where Henry VIII built his naval dockyards and fitted out his famous warship. It’s where the first motorcycle was built and where our high-class cables were made and taken to Sydney, Chicago, and South Africa.

Erith is also where Victorians came to vacation: riverside resorts and pleasure gardens banking on the creativity and tranquillity of the Thames.

Erith keeps that spirit of creativity today.

Erith is for the pathfinders and the promenade lovers; for cyclists and walkers and sculptors and business owners. For those who harbour community and togetherness. For the dreamers and the doers and the wayfarers.

Erith is also for visitors to rest from the city without leaving the city. For the bustle of the borough to breathe and for families to watch tall ships sail by. For locals to enjoy the scenery and food by the waterfront.

Erith is the place of big skies and wide-open river views.

Erith – Bexley by the Thames.

Historical Development

Erith has a long and rich history owing to its prominent position on the river front. This section looks at the changing face of Erith over the years.

Corys Wharf Erith - 1956

Erith is an ancient settlement, dating at least back to the medieval period. The town has always been intimately associated with the Thames; the first significant instance of this was when Henry VIII opened a naval dockyard there in the 16th century, on the site of the current Riverside Gardens.

Until the mid 19th century, Erith was a popular small port and anchorage, often a stopping off point for ships bound for the Port of London to discharge some of their cargo. In the 19th century, this commercial activity was complemented by leisure and recreational uses, with a large ‘pleasure garden’ built along the river where Morrisons now stands. Erith had a reputation as a resort and daytrip destination, with pubs and hotels lining the riverbank.

The pleasure gardens were short lived and Erith’s strategic location on the Thames and with existing railway infrastructure made it an ideal place for industrial development. One of the earliest industrial businesses was the Erith Iron Works at Anchor Bay, opening in 1864, but soon a large number of heavy industrial uses came into being, accompanied by an extensive network of goods railways connected to the mainline. Erith Pier, dates from this time. It was built as an industrial railway pier, allowing goods trains direct access to anchored ships.

In the 1960s, the town was extensively redeveloped following Modernist town planning ideas, including pedestrian/traffic separation, multilevel commercial environments and residential tower blocks. This redevelopment, which had been partly prompted by wartime bomb damage, dramatically altered the layout of the town, and many crucial routes were radically altered: notably the High Street became largely a service road for the new shopping centre. The town’s public spaces were also fundamentally altered by the construction of flood defences, which serve a crucial purpose in protecting the area from flooding but which sever much of the town from a connection to the river. Various buildings and spaces survived this transformation, notably the town’s two Churches.


Photos courtesy of the Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre.


  • What is the Greater Erith Programme?

    The Council has recently been awarded significant funding for Erith, which will be used to make much needed improvements to improve the quality of the public areas, make the town centre more pedestrian and cyclist friendly and assist with bringing high quality new housing and shops and activity to the town centre.

  • How long will the programme last?

    The Erith programme is expected to be delivered over the next 10 years. Elements such as activities around the town centre, public realm works and restoration works at the Carnegie Building will be happen in the first 5 years. The development of new housing, shops and leisure facilities will begin in a second phase from years 5-10. The programme will create the right conditions for further development and investment beyond this.

  • What changes will we see in the town centre?

    The Council is working hard to attract a number of different retailers and leisure providers to Erith. We hope the current investment will help make Erith a more attractive destination for the commercial sector and make it a more appealing and functional town centre for residents and visitors.

  • Can the money be spent elsewhere in the area?

    The funding the Council has secured is specifically for this programme. There is not an option to use this funding for any alternative causes within the area.

  • Will the public get a chance to provide their views?

    The aspirations and comments of local people, community groups and businesses will help shape future activities in the town and design work. There have been a number of opportunities to engage with the programme since it began and there will be further opportunities to give the Council your views.

  • How is the council delivering the project?

    The Council’s project team is working with a number of external professionals who have expertise in design, engineering, consultation and development with a proven track record of working on similar successful schemes across London and the wider UK.

  • Will the scheme include provision for pedestrians and cyclists?

    Improving accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists is a key objective and will be carefully considered alongside the needs of all users.

  • Will the Council be considering the needs of wheelchair users, the visually impaired and people using prams?

    We will be actively consulting with these groups to make sure we understand their concerns and issues.

  • What happens to my feedback once it is received?

    Any comments received, either through informal correspondence or as part of the public events, will be considered by the Council and programme team. Where appropriate, the Council will refine the proposed activities and designs in response to the feedback.

  • If I can’t make any of the events can I send my comments to you?

    Yes, comments can be sent to

  • Why are new projects begun before others are completed?

    The Council aims to schedule projects and improvement work in a way that minimises disturbance to local residents. Where possible the Council will look to avoid having several projects running at once and aims to deliver improvements as quickly as possible.

    The timings of improvement works are often affected by other factors. Where the Council has received a grant for improvement work, the grant conditions may specify that work must start and finish at a particular time. Funding constraints or technical considerations may also mean that projects need to be delivered in separate phases.

    Delays can be caused by unforeseen circumstances such as cost inflation, supply issues, weather conditions, or a need to secure further funding to bring projects within budget.

    You can keep up to date with the latest news on our developments on the Greater Erith website and by following us on social media.

  • What happened to the previous Erith Western Gateway regeneration scheme?

    Due to the global economic crisis, the Council’s development partner, Crest Nicholson, had to pull out of the scheme. That meant that the likelihood of delivering the programme of change that we had consulted people on was very small and so we decided to delay work on that. Instead, focus was put on some smaller and more deliverable schemes, which has resulted in the new Bexley College campus opening and the former Erith Swimming Baths  housing scheme.

  • What is happening at Erith Quarry?

    London and Quadrant (L&Q) and Anderson Group are developing the former quarry site in Erith to provide new homes, including townhouses and apartments.

    The site will also provide a new state-of-the-art primary school and public spaces.

    Visit for more information.

  • What is happening with the Council’s Growth Strategy?

    The Council published the Bexley Growth Strategy in January 2018.  The strategy aims to guide the delivery of new, high quality homes and jobs in the borough. It also considers how we can secure benefits to transport connectivity, economic prosperity and provide opportunities for people to increase their skills.

    Find out more about the Growth Strategy on the London Borough of Bexley’s Growth Strategy web pages.

  • Is Crossrail coming to Erith?

    With Crossrail coming to Abbey Wood, the borough has gained a valuable new transport link that the Council is keen to see extended. In Autumn 2021 the council and its partners submitted a case to Government which sets out the benefits of extending Crossrail through the borough, as well as other options. The Government will review this evidence and make a decision on whether further appraisal work should be done to develop the case further.

  • Are there any plans to introduce step free access at Erith station?

    The significant changes in level around Erith station mean that the London-bound platform 1 can only be accessed via the pedestrian bridge from platform 2. As a result, wheelchair users and people with pushchairs travelling towards London are unable to get to platform 1 and must either use the circular weekday route trains or travel to Dartford and use the lifts there. The Council is therefore keen to secure an “accessible route” from the station entrance to platform 1.

    Network Rail manages and controls all projects and improvements on the railway through a process called Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP). Current funding is allocated up to 2019. To support the Council’s aspiration, consultants were commissioned to carry out an Option Selection Process, which forms part of the GRIP process. This will enable the Council to lobby Network Rail in the future or to consider other funding options.

  • What is happening to the vacant units at Parkspring Court?

    Units 66 and 68 Pier Road, that have stood empty for some years, will be brought into use with funding from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund. Early plans for the space are subject to consultation and approvals, they include a family friendly café, provision of a professional training kitchen for hire for local food businesses and cooking sessions for local families.

  • What is being done about the traffic?

    The Council is currently working with Transport for London (TfL) to develop a scheme for Erith which will improve movement in the town centre for traffic, pedestrians and cyclists. During the preparation stages, we will be talking to the community to get their views.