EP, which is overseeing priority sites, is negotiating with developer Bellway Homes and Barking council over how it can speed up the 4500-home Barking Reach development. Project observers believe Barking Reach, along with the Royal Docks development, are vital to the regeneration of Europe’s largest brownfield area.
Bellway has a 15-year programme for Barking Reach, where it has constructed 900 homes. Later phases are believed to be on the drawing board.
An EP spokesperson said: “We are working with the London Government Association and the London Development Agency to examine whether there is scope to accelerate the scheme proposed by the London Borough of Barking and Bellway Homes. This process is under way at the moment.”
Tony Winterbottom, director of strategy implementation and project development at the LDA, confirmed that it was working with EP to develop the remainder of the Barking Reach site.
In September, Building reported that deputy prime minister John Prescott had called in regeneration quango English Partnerships to kickstart the redevelopment by accelerating the development of key sites.
Prescott believes that up to 200,000 homes could be built in the 4000 ha area, helping to tackle the housing crisis.
EP was brought on board by Prescott because he was frustrated by the lack of progress. Large-scale development in the Thames Gateway has been proposed for more than 30 years.
Prescott asked EP to select sites in the Thames Gateway that it believes will facilitate development. There are 212 from which to choose. EP’s role is likely to include help on increasing scheme density and remediating land.
The regeneration body’s role in the Thames Gateway has, until now, been limited, although it does own land in Basildon, Essex, and is working on the redevelopment of the Greenwich Peninsula in south-east London.