East London, Greenwich, Woolwich, Barking Reach, Thurrock, North Kent and Thameside will receive 120,000 new houses under Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s plans to alleviate the shortage of housing in the South East.
Prescott said: ‘The money I am allocating will help kick-start the process of turning Europe’s largest collection of brownfield sites into living, breathing communities where people are proud to belong. But we are being careful to ensure growth is properly managed and we stand by our commitment to maintain or increase the green belt and stop the profligate use of land.’
The plan for the Thames Gateway will see £330m spent in the next three years on 100 projects, which in turn is expected to create investment from outside bodies of up to £2bn.
Prescott added: ‘We recognise successful delivery of this agenda also requires long-term investment in health and education. We will ensure schools and hospitals are in place as part of the development plans.’
The move is part of the Sustainable Communities Plan published in February this year, which will also see investment in Milton Keynes, the South Midlands, the London Stansted and Cambridge corridor and Ashford.
However, it is expected that the move will take time to make an impression on the South-East market.
Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at Charcol, said: ‘It will make a dent, but dent is the right word. The problem has been around for some time, and although this announcement has been made, how long will it be before a significant number of houses are actually built?’
Boulger also questioned how soon the associated services and transport links would be in place.