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Monday, August 14, 2006
...and news from the rest of the Thames Gateway.
Last week the CPRE (who really seem to be rarely out of the news these days) published yet another report in which 'experts' voiced 'fears' over the amount of housing not being built on brownfield land. It is pretty clever, taking stats from official public sources and using them to prove that many TG boroughs are failing to meet governmetn targets for density and brownfield development.

But in so explicitly calling for 'density', they've found themselves up against an unlikely mix of major housebuilders and homelessness charities all calling for more family housing to address the real needs of the population. The fact is (as I always love to bore people with) if you measured density in habitable rooms rather than dwellings, this issue would immediately vanish as it would be remove the incentive for housebuilders to build one-bedroom flats.

Adam Sampson, director of Shelter, said: "Maximising brownfield development and high density building are crucial to reducing environmental impact. But this must be balanced with the need for homes that are well-designed and sustainable, with enough space for families.

"Only by maintaining this balance will we be able to create a thriving, mixed community which could offer the chance of a brighter future to some of the thousands of children trapped in bad housing and homelessness in London and the South East."

Meanwhile in yet another attempt to actually control what's going on on the marshes and mudflats, the Government is aiming to produce a costed business plan for the Thames Gateway detailing project by project how it intends to meet social, economic and environmental targets. I know, its scarcely believable that they've only just thought to do this.

According to a senior source at DCLG talking to a journo at Regen and Renewal, the business plan, which is earmarked for release in November 2007 following next year's Comprehensive Spending Review, is on top of previous commitments to publish a broader and less specific "strategic framework".

The source said costings within a specified range would be identified for each project, which will then be assessed as to how they meet economic, social, environmental and design criteria.

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