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No one wants to live in Thames Gateway, think tank warns

The vast plans for the Thames Gateway will struggle to find people prepared to live there, a new study by New Labour's favourite think-tank will warn today.

The Institute for Public Policy Research - which is very close to the government - has produced a report warning that people will be extremely reticent about moving into one of the 120,000 homes planned for the area.

The report warns that the government's desire to attract a wide cross-section of society to the developments will prove difficult given the different demands of different income groups.

For example, those on higher wages placed a higher priority on transport links to central London than those further down the pay scale. They also placed much more emphasis on cultural heritage and were least likely to consider mixed-tenure developments.

But irrespective of income group, all those questioned by the IPPR said that the new developments were seen as monotonous, characterless and designed purely to minimise costs.

Researcher Jim Bennett said: 'Although people want to be able to live in housing which is affordable, they certainly don't want to live in something called 'affordable housing'.

'People are put off by the idea of standardised developments, without access to local community services or communal green space.

'Attracting a social mix of people into the gateway developments remains a big challenge because of these negative perceptions,' he added.

But an ODPM spokesman denied there would be problems attracting people and attacked the IPPR's research strategy. '1.6 million people will live in the Thames Gateway area, this project has talked to 56 people,' he said.

`We agree that we need high-quality design for the new homes that are needed alongside new jobs in the Thames Gateway,' the spokesman added. 'That's why we're working with top designers and architects to improve design standards across the country.'

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