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19May94 UK: TASK FORCE TO UNVEIL EAST THAMES CORRIDOR PLAN SOON.

The masterplan for redevelopment of the 87,600 ha East Thames Corridor is due next month, after a year's work by a government task force.It is expected to highlight the need for new developments around Stratford and the Royal Docks, the areas around the proposed Channel Tunnel high-speed rail link station at Ebbsfleet, Thamesmead, Barking Reach, Sheppey and Rainham.The corridor, which stretches east from London Docklands to Sheppey in Kent and Thurrock, Essex, contains 4,000 ha of potential development sites, but many have contamination or access problems.Prof Peter Hall, who did much of the early research on the corridor's potential, told the Cities 94 conference in London last week: 'We have the chance to create one of the largest and certainly the most exciting new urban environments in the world.'But Kent's county planner, Robin Thompson, warned the conference that the Government should not expect partnerships to produce the massive investment needed, because lenders were still reluctant to involve themselves.He said the best route for partnerships was in agreeing common objectives for councils' planning policies and businesses' investments.But he added that the success of the Thames corridor would depend heavily on the ability of the private sector to attract institutional lenders.He said: 'The local authorities don't have large sums and the private sector won't risk them unless there is some back-up through public finance.'The investment institutions are not coming to join the party. The private sector has to influence those lenders.' CONSTRUCTION NEWS