Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

Grey Cortina

This mornings newspapers suggest that the British motor industry, such as we still have, will require significant government investment if they are to survive the current business downturn/recession.

Given the considerable sums already invested to ensure that the banking industry avoids a large and upleasant crash, such investment in the car industry seems inevitable.

However, at the risk of doing a Robert Peston again Im going to offer another you read it here first prediction.

The Ford plant in Dagenham, at its peak covered around 300 acres. I havent driven past the site recently, but would suggest that since car production ceased in 2002, much of the site is underutilised. As the downturn hits that under utilisation can only worsen.

Dagenham is about five miles from Canary Wharf and less than ten miles from the City of London with above average road and rail links. Its also less than a mile from the River Thames and only a few miles from London City Airport. That makes it prime real estate in my books, brownfield and ripe for redevelopment.

Im guessing (and it is only a guess) that around 250 Acres (100 Hectares) of land could me made available for redevelopment; using the Governments current plannning density of around 150-200 Dwellings per hectare (in the Thames Gateway), then thats space for around 17,000 dwellings. Thats a comfortably sized town in its own right, and would further benefit from the infrastructure and facilities currently being put in place for the 2012 Olympics.

So… Ford of Dagenham, dont build cars or engines… build a town!

Word is that the government want to squander this resource with its excellent trsnsport links to build a prison. Go figure.

Once again, if they come to their senses, you read it here first.