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Lipton demands a Bilbao-style icon for Thames Gateway

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The former chairman of CABE has called on 'strong leadership' for the regeneration of the Thames Gateway and iconic architecture to spearhead investment in the region.

Stuart Lipton called yesterday for the creation of a 'Bilbao' or 'Guggenheim' for the Thames Gateway to help the government's plans to create 180,000 new jobs in the area by 2016.

Speaking at the Thames Gateway Forum, Lipton said: 'I applaud David Higgins' appointment [as the new chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority]. But who's going to follow David's lead? Where's that single voice?'

He contined: 'Where is the new Guggenheim or Bilbao? Where is that building in this territory? The enthusiasm and quality apparatus of these is what we need.'

The Stanhope chairman's comments come in the same week that Urban Task Force chair Richard Rogers called on a single regeneration authority to lead renaissance in the Thames Gateway.

After the same debate, new Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chief executive Higgins confirmed that his department was working up a response to Rogers' recommendations that designers should stand 'shoulder to shoulder' with the ODA over the delivery of the Olympics.

'It's a decision for the chairman to make, we've already seconded members of CABE to address design issues,' Higgins told the AJ, at his first public appearance since his appointment.

Lipton went on to claim, at a debate held at a conference on the Thames Gateway yesterday, that locals in the Thames Gateway had become 'disenfranchised from the creation of their surroundings'.

Later that day, culture minister David Lammy claimed that towns such as Southend should look to become as popular with tourists as Brighton, a call echoed by former culture minister Chris Smith.

by Rob Sharp

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