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Transport is key for the Gateway


NO-ONE doubts that the plan for the Thames Gateway region is a vast undertaking. Regeneration gurus aim to parachute the equivalent of the population of Leeds into the area by 2016.

The Government is relying on Public Private Partnerships to deliver much of the work.

But with developers facing the uncertainty of drawn-out planning applications far more needs to be done to attract the private sector.

The biggest obstacle to success is the current transport policy, which at best is woolly.The London Mayor's £10 billion five-year transport programme is big on rhetoric, but light on detail about schemes critical to the flowering of the Thames Gateway.

Take London Riverside - an area comprising Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Thurrock, where 21,000 new homes are planned.This development hangs on a further extension of the Docklands Light Railway. But the timing of the line reaching the area has become less and less certain, since it was omitted from the Mayor's transport plan.

If things are to get moving, the Government and Greater London Assembly must start to put their money where the rhetoric is.Otherwise the Gateway will never open.