Bexley Council is set to consider the compulsory purchase of at least 10 properties in its bid to create a new gateway for Erith town centre near the Queens Road Roundabout.

The authority’s cabinet will discuss the plans at a February 25 meeting, where they’ll also consider whether they undertake the development solo through their own company BexleyCo, or in a joint venture with a commercial business.

It’s the latest step in the council’s Erith Regeneration Programme, which has seen the council buy-up properties on Pier Road since July 2017.

The authority states it wants to create a “high quality”, mixed-use centre featuring businesses and homes to provide a more welcoming entrance to the town centre.

A report to be presented to councillors states: “Pier Road was once a flourishing and attractive road made up of grand Victorian buildings with commercial/retail on the ground floor and offices/flats above”.

“Today, the Pier Road West site forms the gateway to modern Erith and is

predominantly made up of tired low rise buildings of poor architectural merit,” the report states.

Since 2017, the council has acquired six properties at the site. The authority says it has made multiple efforts over the last two years to purchase the remainder which would allow the wholesale redevelopment of the site.

“Whilst some owners have accepted offers, there are some that do not wish to consider a sale at this stage or have told us they are waiting for the council

to use its powers of compulsory purchase,” a report on the matter states.

It means the council will consider exercising powers to buy 10 properties at the site.

Compulsory purchase orders mean the council can acquire a property without the current owner’s consent in return for compensation.

Cllr Louie French, Bexley’s deputy leader and cabinet member for growth said of the move: “We want Erith to become a vibrant riverside town again and upgrading the gateway to the town centre at Pier Road is an important part of this. We have been working hard over the past few years to secure the site and are now at a stage where we need to make a decision about how best to move things forward.”

The council stated that it “will work closely with those affected and keep them informed at all stages of the process” if the cabinet votes in favour of the compulsory purchases.

Council officers have also recommended the authority develop the area in partnership with a private sector business.

According to officers, reasons for the move include having “private sector expertise available” to support the build.

It also means the council would have “partial control” over the scheme, something it would lose if the project was 100 per cent outsourced to a private firm.

The plans are the latest big ones for Erith.

Last year the authority secured £1.6m for a major revamp of the high street following a successful bid to London Mayor Sadiq Khan by the council.

Erith has been earmarked for major growth by the council, featuring heavily in its ambitious growth strategy – which sets out plans for 30,000 homes by 2050.