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The Thames plan cannot be botched

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A masterplan for the Thames Gateway is essential, but it must be considered and decisive, says Hilary Reid Evans

Thinking of the Thames Gateway reminds me that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. While that is one piece of infrastructure that nobody wants, it seems to be making extraordinary progress. After years of effort and dozens of attempts at regeneration, we are left with a region synonymous with failure. It is easy to list the issues: the horrendously complex existing delivery mechanism; the out-of-date targets; the lack of co-ordination; and the all too prevalent silo mentality.

There is huge expectation regarding what the new Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), launched on Monday (1 December), can deliver and the planned review of delivery bodies is a fantastic start. But how can anyone know what sort of delivery body will be effective if they don’t know what they are trying to achieve? I always thought structure followed strategy.

The strategy for the Gateway includes the promise of creating an eco-region. Great, but I wonder how this will be implemented and how long it will take. The eco-towns debacle has inevitably debased the currency of what should be the keystone of a truly economically, environmentally and ecologically sustainable plan for the area.

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