London Thames Gateway (1) (Supplementary) [5]

Session date: 
December 12, 2007
Question By: 
John Biggs
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I will not comment, Chair, on the future or otherwise of the UDC. That is a matter to be discussed in whatever place. First, Mayor, would you join with me in inviting and welcoming Tony Arbour to come on a visit of the Thames Gateway to see what is happening on the ground there. Contrary to all the doom-laden headlines and the prejudices of people like himself who live in a far flung western fringe of London, there is an awful lot going on in the Gateway, as you have already outlined.

Would you join with me in celebrating, for example, the opening of the Langdon Park Docklands Light Railway (DLR) Station the other day, which helps to bring public transport to a community which has been relatively isolated, even though it is fairly close to central London? Would you join with me also in celebrating the progress so far, on time and on budget, with the Woolwich extension to the DLR? It is going to open opportunities for people who live in Len's [Duvall] constituency on the south side of the river to travel into London and to enjoy job opportunities. It will unlock sites for many thousands of homes to be built in that area for people from all sorts of income groups in London? Also the DLR extension to Stratford International station will help to do much of the same thing.

Would you join with me also in supporting and celebrating the fact that in the Canning Town area we are clearing large-scale areas of sub-standard housing and providing opportunities next to the Jubilee Lline station for new housing and for new employment opportunities to people in the area? Would you agree with me that although the picture is that, although there are these doom-laden scenarios about lack of strategic planning, on the ground in the Thames Gateway there is an awful lot going on but there is an awful lot more still to do?

Finally, would you agree with me in the context of the UDC question, that regarding the Olympics there has been a lot of thinking about what the legacy body and strategy for developing sites in that area should be. In regard of the Barking Riverside area there are existing company arrangements to develop a site there and so on and what is needed is for people to focus on the job to be done. There will need to be special-purpose vehicles of one kind or another; it is almost academic what they are. Rather than being doom-laden, suggesting that London is going down the plughole, we should celebrate the fact that in east London there are all manner of housing opportunities and employment opportunities arising and our job is to make sure that Londoners are best equipped to enjoy those opportunities and to have the skills and the incomes that allow them to have the same sorts of standards of living in east London as the smug Mr Arbour, I think, enjoys in west London.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for London Thames Gateway (1) (Supplementary) [5]

Answer for London Thames Gateway (1) (Supplementary) [5]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Before I am really in a position to answer that, I would need John [Biggs] to expand a little further on what he was trying to say! It is part of our problem. A lot of very good stuff is happening in the Gateway: the infrastructure has been put in, the groundwork is being laid for all of this and this is exactly the point where it looks as though the least is happening because you are doing all that basic work before the tens of thousands of homes start coming along towards completion. I do think it would be a very good idea for John [Biggs] to take Tony [Arbour] on a tour.