DCLG affirms gateway aim

The DCLG has insisted that it is committed to targets for transforming the Thames Gateway despite the economic downturn.

Speaking at the annual Thames Gateway Forum this week, planning and housing minister Margaret Beckett maintained that the sub-region is in a strong position to weather the current storm in the market.

"We have sound reasons to remain optimistic for the gateway's long-term prospects. Now is not the time to give up on it or start watering down our ambitions," she insisted.

Her comments came as the head of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) Sir Bob Kerslake told the Financial Times that a target to build 160,000 homes in the gateway by 2016 may have to be reviewed. "What we need to look at is whether this might happen over a longer timescale," he explained.

A DCLG spokesman would not confirm whether the target would be revised. "The HCA will be responsible for day-to-day delivery in the gateway from Monday," he said. "As part of that role it is perfectly sensible for it be looking across the board at how it will implement government plans."

Beckett also proposed an "eco-quarter" for the sub-region, which would aim to develop and showcase new green technology.

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