The development of a new gateway for Erith is “an opportunity we have to get right”, according to one of the local council’s senior members.

Bexley Council’s cabinet members voted to proceed with plans to redevelop a new “gateway” near the Queens Road Roundabout, which will potentially include the compulsory purchase of homes and businesses.

Cabinet member for growth Louie French said the development would be “something that does actually do Erith justice and make it an area people can be proud of again”.

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

The site is currently filled with a mixture of run-down empty properties, as well as homes and businesses.

The council has already acquired six properties at the site since 2017.

Under the new plans approved, the council will draft a compulsory purchase order (CPO) which would allow them to purchase remaining properties at the site.

Councillors also approved plans to seek a commercial partner to undertake the development with.

“I’m quite comfortable with the evidence that’s been set out for us and i’m quite happy to support the recommendation,” Cllr French said.

“It’s quite wise to share the risk as council and taxpayer’s money will be involved.”

“This is an opportunity where we have to get it right.”

The move was backed by Labour’s Cllr Joe Ferreira, who represents the ward.

“This site in particular is an important one. Making this scheme work in the future will be a key driver in unlocking the potential and harnessing that growth in Erith,” he said.

Councillors were told how the current block of businesses and residences contained more than 50 properties in a “complex” arrangement across a small area.

The authority says it has made multiple efforts over the last two years to purchase the remaining properties which would allow the wholesale redevelopment of the site.

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

Under a CPO, those impacted will be able to make financial claims ranging from the open market value of the property, as well as relocation or extinguishment fees for businesses.