The government is laying the foundations for its sustainable communities plan by setting up schemes in two of the four areas earmarked for development.
In one, regeneration agency English Partnerships is looking to appoint a consortium of consultants to draw up a development framework for growth in Ashford, Kent.

The framework is intended to prepare the ground for the 31,000 homes that Ashford is scheduled to accommodate by 2031.

English Partnerships has invited expressions of interest from consortiums with expertise in masterplanning, Urban Design and architecture.

The framework will be divided into two phases. The first will be to create a growth area model to anticipate Ashford's pattern of growth over the next 25 years. The second will require a detailed framework plan, including site definition and the design of public spaces.

Meanwhile, in the Thames Gateway, a panel of celebrity architects has been set up to champion design quality for the intended regeneration of the area.

The London Development Agency set up the International Design Committee to promote world-class architecture in the Thames Gateway.

The committee, to be chaired by Lord Rogers, includes Sir Terry Farrell, Lord Foster, Will Alsop, Sir Richard McCormac and David Adjaye. Committee members will advise on all LDA-led developments in the Thames Gateway.

Rogers said: "I hope the wealth of talent on this committee will ensure we get the design right."

  • The South East England Development Agency has called together housebuilders including Countryside Properties, Barclay and Wates, to discuss the use of prefabricated housing.