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Thames Gateway plans win go-ahead from government

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The government has given the green light to London mayor Ken Livingstone's plans for the Thames Gateway - the area in east London earmarked for major development over the next decade.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has given the mayor its backing for the creation of a new body to oversee delivery of the plans - a new board to be chaired by Livingstone with Lord Rogers, head of the GLA's architecture and urbanism unit, as vice-chair. The plans, set out in the draft London Plan, would see the creation of 80,000 extra homes in the area over the next 20 years. Crucial will be the construction of a number of new bridges across the Thames.

Tony Winterbottom, director of strategy implementation and project development at the LDA - speaking at a meeting of the mayor's advisory committee last week - stressed the need for immediate action to control development in the area. 'London's greatest development opportunity' could be lost, he warned, if traditional low-density developments continued to creep into the area unchecked.

However, Lord Rogers stressed the need to put quality before quantity. 'It is better to go slower and get it right, ' he said.

The London Plan will go out to public consultation in February next year and the final plan is scheduled to be published in the autumn.

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