The London section of the Thames Gateway growth area has the potential to accommodate up to 120,000 houses, according to London mayor Ken Livingstone,

The figure – which does not include the 60,000 houses planned for the Kent and Essex parts of the Gateway – is exactly double the number planned by the ODPM for the area.

Speaking at the Thames Gateway Forum last Thursday, Livingstone challenged developers and planners by insisting that both public and private sectors should be aiming to increase densities.

He said: “Every site should be looked at on its merits. It is not acceptable to not look at heights and densities. Over the next 18 months we’ll be looking in detail at it.”

Work on increasing densities has already begun under the banner of Livingstone’s Greater London Authority, the London Development Agency and the Thames Gateway London Partnership. In April, the trio published a study advising that the 60,000 target for London Thames Gateway be increased to 91,000.

All three bodies are engaged in identifying key growth zones that have the infrastructure and economic capacity for more housing.

Livingstone warned he would not tolerate the mistakes made at such developments as south Barking, which he turned down for planning permission because he wanted to double the planned 6000 homes.

He said: “At south Barking there was no critical mass to create a community. If you’d gone into the street at 11 o’clock in the morning there would have been no sign of human life. I’m sorry, but I’m not having any more of this crap.”

  • Livingstone announced a joint venture between the London Development Agency and AXA Sunlife to create a £400m development in south Dagenham. The mixed-use development, which has 2000 homes and 12,000 m2 of retail space, will be built on a 40-acre site comprising the Merrielands Retail Park and former Ford factory.