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Thames Gateway failing, warns new report

The Thames Gateway is in danger of failing by becoming bogged down irretrievably in a 'political, financial and planning minefield', a new report published yesterday has warned.

The document claims that there is very little chance that the targets set for new houses in 2010 and 2016 will be met.

The entire housebuilding vision comes in for a hammering in the report, which was produced by management consultants Hornagold and Hills.

Although Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott comes in for praise on a personal level, a severe lack of leadership is the main criticism.

The Thames Gateway: Laying the Blue Linedocument found that key figures with responsibility for delivering the initiative were often confused themselves about the current organisation structure, and were frustrated by slow decision making.

Speaking for the consultants, Stan Hornagold said that despite the findings there was still an opportunity in the area for major growth. 'Thames Gateway is not a sprint, it's a marathon. If we assess progress on the basis of 2010 or 2016 housing targets, it is clearly struggling,' he said.

'But viewed as the early stages of a 40-year programme to make a truly sustainable community, we have a much more realistic timescale.

'After all, the small, specialist area we know as Canary Wharf took 25 years to become an 'overnight success',' he added. 'And the Thames Gateway is much larger and infinitely more complex.'

by Ed Dorrell

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