The county used to be a district within Essex but was given independence by The Essex (Boroughs of Colchester, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock and District of Tendring) (Structural, Boundary and Electoral Changes) Order 1996.
With a population of about 135,000 people living in 58,000 homes, Thurrock has a wide ranging and diverse economy. Much of the population and commercial activity is centred along the riverfront. This includes many large and important industrial sites, including two large oil refineries and manufacturing industries, Thurrock is also home to the Lakeside Shopping Centre. With over 300 shops under one roof, this is one of the largest retail centres in Europe.
Despite so much of the borough being protected Green Belt land, Thurrock provides localised opportunities for further industrial and commercial development. The borough forms part of the Thames Gateway regeneration area, a corridor of opportunity that has been identified by central government as the area with greatest development and commercial potential in the country.
Being both on the river and right next to London, Thurrock is served with good communication links. The M25 London Orbital Motorway, the local railway line providing direct access to Central London and, before long, Stratford International Station, the Port of Tilbury and the nearby London City Airport make Thurrock an important international trade centre. There is a grass airstrip south of Bulphan village. A ferry for passengers on foot connects Tilbury with Gravesend on the southern bank of the River Thames.
The Borough has a number of main settlements including Grays, Stanford/Corringham, South Ockendon and Tilbury, together with a number of villages, some set in open fenland. Lakeside Regional Shopping Centre and the developing community of Chafford Hundred are located west of Grays and east of the M25 London's orbital motoway.
Statistical overview of Thurrock
Size of Thurrock 165.7 sq. km. (64 sq. miles)
Riverside frontage 30 kilometres (18 miles)
Size of population 1991 Census - 127,819
1998 estimate - 134,962
Total households 49,111
Main town Grays (population 1991 - 36,181)
Industrial Land availability 200 Hectares (494 acres)
Extent of Green Belt coverage 60% of Borough
Conservation areas 7
Listed buildings 239
Sites of Special Scientific Interest 10