Europe’s largest regeneration project has been thrown into confusion after housing minister Yvette Cooper ordered an emergency rewrite of the Thames Gateway plan.

Ministers promised last year that a fully costed plan to build 160,000 homes in the 40-mile stretch of land to the east of London would be ready for publication at the Thames Gateway Forum next week.

Building has learned that staff have been drafted in to the government’s Thames Gateway Delivery Unit to rewrite the plan after Cooper decided it was not up to scratch.

A senior Thames Gateway source said: “It has been a fiasco. Yvette is unhappy. The plans from a week ago had to be torn up.”

The source said the earlier draft had been “devoid of strategic intention”, merely listing existing government aims for the area.

Su Bonfanti, a senior communities department official, has been asked to rewrite the plan, according to the source.

It has been a fiasco. Yvette is unhappy. The plans from a week ago had to be torn up

Thames Gateway source

Other senior Gateway figures contacted by Building echoed the view, with one saying the early draft was “crap” and was being “re-written substantially”.

Judith Armitt, Thames Gateway chief executive, who is in charge of drawing up the plan, played down the revisions. She said: “We’ve added some changes, but it’s not a substantially different document. It is a good plan, with detailed funding commitments and cross-government support.”

The plan was supposed to follow up last year’s Thames Gateway Interim Framework, which laid the groundwork for 160,000 homes and 180,000 jobs.

Armitt said the plan would show which developments would get funding and would include a methodology to show how government cash would be prioritised. Growth is to be concentrated around Canary Wharf, the Olympic park, the Essex link and Ebbsfleet in Kent

The news is the latest setback for the Gateway. Last week Edward Leigh MP, chair of the Public Accounts committee, said the communities department was “manifestly not up to the job” of regenerating the area.