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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 January 2006, 08:15 GMT
Gateway homes plan under attack
Thames Gateway
Higher income groups want cultural heritage, research shows
East Londoners considering moving into new housing in the Thames Gateway find newly built homes "monotonous and characterless", a report suggests.

The development spanning 40 miles from east and south-east London to Kent and Essex aims to attract people on a range of incomes to create mixed communities.

But findings by the Institute for Public Policy Research show priorities varied dramatically between groups.

Current thinking is to build 120,000 new homes in the area by 2016.

Transport connections

This would also include new schools, sports facilities, businesses, health centres, parks, and transport links, in an attempt to meet the south's long-term housing needs.

But Jim Bennett, author of the report, said: "Although people want to be able to live in housing which is affordable, they certainly don't want to live in something called "affordable housing".

Higher income groups want fast transport connections with central London and places with a cultural heritage, he said.

He added that people wanted schools and surgeries within walking distance and good transport links, but attracting a social mix of people remained a big challenge because of negative perceptions.

It is not the first time the multi-million development, said to be western Europe's biggest regeneration scheme, has come under fire.

Concerns over the quality of housing planned, investment pledged, urban sprawl and the risk of flooding have already been voiced.

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