ODPM details east London boundary

Proposals for an urban development corporation (UDC) for east London to deliver growth in the Thames Gateway have been launched for consultation.

Under plans published by the ODPM this week, the UDC would include parts of eight London boroughs - Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. It will be responsible for strategic applications in these areas, leaving householder and minor applications with local authorities.

Launching the consultation, planning minister Keith Hill said: "A UDC can play an important role in making things happen. But it's important that the local community has its say."

The consultation paper says "a number of seats" on the UDC board will be set aside for those local authorities most significantly affected by the proposals and the Greater London Authority. According to the proposals, no single interest group should have a majority of seats on the board.

Chris Donovan, assistant director of regeneration services at the London Borough of Bexley, said: "We'll be looking at whether any key sites have been left outside the boundary and exactly how the board will actually work."

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said that the London Development Agency (LDA) should be given responsibility to make it more accountable.

"It would create a sense of democratic accountability," said CPRE London region director Nigel Kersey.

LDA chief executive Michael Ward said the agency is committed to partnership working but added that it will seek clarification of the organisations' responsibilities and over infrastructure funding. Consultation runs until 6 February 2004.

Sustainable Communities is available via www.planning.haynet.com.

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