The Housing Corporation has set up a commission to address the design quality of affordable housing in the Thames Gateway.

The commission will be headed by Tim Williams, an adviser to Yvette Cooper, the housing minister, and a former special adviser to David Miliband.

The 18-strong commission will produce a design guide that sets out standards that the Housing Corporation expects from any grant-funded development.

Steve Douglas, deputy chief executive of the corporation, said it was best to set definite standards at the beginning.

He said: “By agreeing with providers and planners the expectations of the Housing Corporation, we will ensure we get quality affordable housing across the board, rather than the regular trickle of average schemes through section 106s that seek waivers from our standards. Early engagement and agreement is the key to quality homes – the guide will help this.”