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Govt pledges £20m aid for Thames Gateway homes

The Department for Communities and Local Government is offering £20 million for firms to conduct risk assessments for house building in the Thames Gateway region.

Speaking at the Thames Gateway forum today, Richard McCarthy DCLG director general of housing and planning, said the top 10 firms will receive £2 million each, and will be expected to contribute around 108,000 of the 160,000 new homes planned for the region by 2016.

He also challenged house builders to match the commitment from Berkeley Homes to build all of its new dwellings to at least Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Mr McCarthy said: “We would encourage all firms to match that, and maybe go a little further.”

Earlier today, housing minister Yvette Cooper announced plans to construct a new ‘eco-quarter’ in the region.

She said the DCLG will ask for bids from councils in the Gateway to build a new zero-carbon community.

The initiative is in addition to plans for 10 eco-towns previously announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Mrs Cooper also unveiled a £500 million funding package from the Communities Department to assist the planned development in the region.

Around £35 million of the funding package will go towards a Thames Estuary park along the Thames waterfront, designed by architect Sir Terry Farrell.