ODPM proposes giant urban development corporation to push through regeneration of key east London areas.
The government has released plans to create one large urban development corporation to hurry through developments on three key Thames Gateway sites, including the proposed area for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister plans to set up the UDC, the second to be created after Thurrock in Essex last month, to deliver 30,000 homes – many of them affordable or for key workers.

The sites to be covered by the UDC include Barking and Dagenham, Thamesmead, Belvedere and Erith, Stratford in east London and the Lower Lea valley, the site of architect EDAW's Olympic masterplan.

The proposal for the body, which will cover eight London boroughs, will now go out to consultation among interested parties for 12 weeks. The government hopes to set up the UDC by late spring.

Urban development corporations are powerful government bodies with statutory powers to make changes and to maximise private investment. Under the plans, the UDC would be in control of the regeneration process, using compulsory purchase orders. It will be responsible for the local water, electricity and gas infrastructure.

The principle behind the UDC is to drive development

ODPM spokesperson

A spokesperson for the ODPM said the government wanted to involve the community as much as possible. He said: "The principle behind the UDC is to drive forward development but with the full backing of the community. We don't want the image of suits in a boardroom deciding everything."

The government is keen to use a UDC rather than rely on partnerships between local boroughs and urban regeneration companies, as their integrated nature makes it more likely the government will reach its target of 200,000 homes by 2016.

The ODPM refused to comment before the end of the consultation process on whether the proposed corporation would use the Urban Design codes favoured by John Prescott (10 October, page 11). However, the spokesperson said it was looking at the issue closely.

One regeneration specialist, however, said the board of the UDC would need to look carefully at infrastructure and procurement.