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PLANS to widen the A13 between Orsett and Corringham have been backed by the Deputy Mayor of London.

Sir Edward Lister, one of London Mayor Boris Johnson’s key aides, told John Kent the leader of Thurrock Council that he was impressed by Thurrock’s growth plans and pledged to help the authority secure funding for the road widening project.

The council is set to apply to the South East Local Economic Partnership for the majority of funding for the £80million project which would see the A13 between the Manorway and the Orsett Cock roundabout widened from two lanes to three.

The bid will be submitted in March and negotiations with government will take place over the coming months.

DP World has said it will chip in with £10million of cash to widen the road.

John Kent, the leader of Thurrock Council, met with Sir Lister last week. He said: “Thurrock's growth programme will create over 26,000 jobs over the next decade, but as I have said before and lobbied for, it will only be a success if the transport infrastructure is also in place.

“At the meeting with Sir Edward, I stressed how important the widening of the A13 is to support growth at London Gateway, Lakeside and Thames Enterprise Park.

“I also pointed to the exciting potential of strengthening the cultural offer along the riverside in Thurrock stretching east to Southend and west into London.”

Thurrock’s growth plans include the expansion at Lakeside shopping centre, the continued development of London Gateway, the regeneration of Grays town centre and a new town centre hub at Purfleet.

Mr Kent added: “Sir Edward was impressed with the scale of Thurrock’s growth ambitions and recognised the importance of their success to the London economy.

“He has pledged to help Thurrock's case for the widening of the A13, a key priority that the council is seeking funding for through government and SELEP - the local economic partnership.”