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Monday, November 06, 2006
Thames Gateway news...
No phasing in Barking, barks Ken at Bellway Homes. A report presented to the mayor's latest planning meeting said Bellway and EP, its JV partner, had proposed a cap of 4,000 units on its Barking Riverside scheme until funding has been secured for a £295m extension of the Docklands Light Railway through the site. The joint venture envisages 10,800 homes spread across the 179ha brownfield site. But basically Ken wants no phasing to force the government to commit funding for the DLR.

Meanwhile the DLR link to Stratford International got planning approval, which will come as a relief. It will mean there is an alternative to walking 400m with your wheely suitcase between the Eurostar and the Tube station, although you will have to endure more escalators/crowded DLR carriage/etc in the process. Proposals for an airport-style travelator are still being contested by the government (pro) and LCR (anti).

Moving further out, a couple of EP projects around Basildon have hit the buffers, due to concerted local opposition and problems securing infrastructure funding. My crystal ball says that these issues will continue to dog every outer Thames Gateway scheme. They were due to create 2,000 homes and 6,000 jobs and the council leader Malcolm Buckley said EP should have sorted out the road improvements. "The Government wants us to grow but won't provide the necessary funding."

This comes as government procurement watchdog the Office of Government Commerce - which has the power to make recommendations to ministers - confirmed it has started a review of the effectiveness of public spending in the Gateway.

And surprise of the week, the The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management says that the government should relocate communities away from areas of flood risk, including the Thames Gateway, and go for managed realignment of coastal areas. It said: "...the wisdom in re-locating people here is debatable since in the Thames Gateway alone over 36,000 homes are proposed for areas at risk from tidal flooding."

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