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CABE warns of Thames Gateway 'wasteland'

The Thames Gateway is in danger of becoming a ‘wasteland of badly-designed housing and public spaces’ CABE has said.

CABE delivered the warning at the Thames Gateway Forum held today (29 November), before launching its design pact for the region which calls for a ‘step change’ in design quality.

The criticism comes after the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the project was at risk of becoming
a ‘public spending calamity’.

Developed alongside the Thames Gateway Strategic Partnership, CABE’s pact points the finger at all the organisations involved in the scheme’s delivery, and calls on Communities and Local Government (CLG) to provide funding ‘only on the condition of good design criteria’.

CABE also suggests that Regional Development Agencies need to look at issues such as transport and infrastructure, not just land use. It also urges local authorities, English Partnerships, and other public-sector landowners to ensure that no land in public ownership is sold without a binding masterplan.

Long-term Thames Gateway critic, Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire Alistair Burt said: ‘Right from Richard Rogers’ report in 2005, concerns have been highlighted as design quality risks being sacrificed at the expense of quality.

However, the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation believes CABE’s input is unnecessary.

A spokesman said: ‘If CABE feels it has something to add then that can be positive, but we are committed to stringent masterplanning.’

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