Interest High In Former Essex Refinery Site

Posted on 16 February, 2014 by Cliff Goodwin

Clearance work has started on a 400 acre former Essex oil refinery site prior to it being opened up to a variety of occupiers. Another immediately available 110 acres, situated adjacent to London Gateway, is already attracting interest.


The Thames riverside site once housed the Petroplus Coryton Oil Refinery and was purchased jointly from the administrators in September, 2012, by Vopak, Greenergy and Shell. The partnership then created an oil import and distribution terminal at the eastern end of the site and established Thames Enterprise Park to take over the rest.

Thurrock Council has already identified part of the park as a potential centre of excellence for energy and environmental technology. Early estimates suggest that as many as 2,000 jobs could be accommodated on the site — more than replacing those lost when the refinery closed — with supply chain, storage and logistics companies taking up the rest of the site.

“The enormous potential of the site became apparent when we started receiving multiple expressions of interest from would-be occupiers despite a lack of active marketing,” said Graham Alexander, the park’s head of business development. Securing a large and diverse range of activities on a single site will increase the potential for firms to support and benefit each other he added.

There are 100-plus relatively clean acres already available. Additional land, currently occupied by the main refinery structures, could be ready as early as 2017 after demolition. The owners are undertaking due diligence work pending construction works to prepare serviced development plots. A 2013 bid was also made to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to designate the park as an Enterprise Zone.

Paul Mussi is a partner with Knight Frank and is advising on the business park’s potential. “This is one of the largest industrial development sites within the North Thames Gateway,” he said.  “Whilst it is focused on the technological industrial occupier market, it will also appeal to a multitude of different types of industrial and warehouse occupiers who want sites with good links to the London conurbation, but need to be some distance from neighbouring residential dwellings, which tend to impact on use and development.

“Thames Enterprise Park boasts good road connections, alternative rail and sea logistics options and has excellent potential to provide development platforms. It is not surprising that we are already in serious discussions with several occupiers who are interested in relatively large tracts of land like this, which are in scarce supply elsewhere in the region.”

MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, Stephen Metcalfe, welcomed the possible creation of any new jobs. “I’m delighted to see this industrial land brought back into use, and highly skilled jobs brought to the area,” he said. “And, in the next few months, I’m hoping we will hear about companies interested in investing in the site.”

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