Plans for a greener Thames Gateway, with more family homes, better designed buildings and stronger leadership to fulfil its economic potential, were unveiled today by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly.
The Thames Gateway Interim Plan will lay down the foundations to create the conditions for 180,000 new jobs and 160,000 new homes over the next ten years, with over a third of these homes - 35 per cent - designated as affordable housing. Unlocking the economic potential of the Gateway, Western Europe's largest regeneration project, could contribute up to £12bn a year to the UK economy, the plan reveals.
The new plans for the Gateway have been drawn up under Government leadership by the Thames Gateway Strategic Partnership, which brings together all the public sector delivery bodies working in the Gateway. The Partnership’s ambition is to make the Gateway:
Greener - the Government's ambition is for the Gateway to be a low and then zero-carbon development, with no net emissions from new development; and new The Thames Gateway Parklands will provide green spaces throughout the area
Better designed - a new design pact and CABE housing audits, working with local design champions, will root out poorly designed housing schemes; and there will be a clear requirement for local councils to ensure enough family homes to meet local demand
An economic hub - with plans for jobs and private investment in the Gateway’s key transformational locations: Canary Wharf, the Gateway Ports Cluster, Stratford, the Lower Lea Valley and Ebbsfleet Valley
More highly skilled - with greater support to get local students into higher education and a new adult skills pilot; and
An Olympic legacy - with Government support for a cross-Gateway task force to ensure the Olympic legacy is expanded along the 40 miles of the Gateway. Their plan will be published next year and could include a new half marathon and network of sporting villages.
The Interim Plan will announce the increased capacity for 160,000 new homes to be built over the next ten years with an extra 40,000 in the London part of the Gateway, on sites identified by the GLA as suitable for development.
Speaking at the Thames Gateway Forum, Ruth Kelly said:
“The long-term challenge of regenerating the Thames Gateway requires long-term commitment and focus from us and our partners. We are already seeing progress on the ground in the Gateway with new transport links, university campuses, jobs and homes; but for real success we must go further and faster.
“I want to see a stronger emphasis on leadership, on the environment, and particularly on well designed family friendly housing which to date has not always been up to scratch. To really fulfil the Gateway’s potential we cannot simply aim to catch up with the rest of the UK - it must lead the way.
“Our joint ambition has to be building a Gateway of homes not just houses and communities not simply conurbations. There is a huge amount more to do but this month represents an important step forward with two key building blocks in place, the publication of our new plan and Judith Armitt starting work as Chief Executive.”
Housing and Planning Minister Yvette Cooper said:
“The Thames Gateway needs to be a beautiful place to live as well as a great place to work and invest, and we need to build the homes and business of the future in the Gateway too. The sheer scale of development means the Gateway is a great location to pioneer new environmental technologies and to go further in cutting carbon emissions.”
Judith Armitt said:
“The Interim Plan sets out our ambitions to unlock the huge economic potential of the Thames Gateway to benefit the people living there already and new communities as well. My role as Chief Executive will be to take forward a detailed delivery plan with all the key players who have been so influential in producing this statement of common purpose with us.”