Meetings scheduled at last minute and requiring attendance meant that I was prevented from a number of meetings – including one in Leeds with the Association of Police Authorities and the Holocaust Educational Trust (being re-organised).
I did manage to meet with the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC). I have the same concerns I had when I was on the London Assembly about the Thames Gateway. A city the population size of Leeds is being plonked in the Thames Gateway without proper master-planning (in my view).
This is just the hugest opportunity to do things right, but the fear is – that this won’t happen. However, the LTGDC is making a fist of trying to put some organisation and rigour onto the development. They need a huge hit of Government funding – and it won’t be clear for a couple of years whether the Government will be putting their money where their housing targets are.
If the Thames Gateway delivers sustainable housing (around 100,000), jobs and sustainable transport links – then it could be a really good thing. One of my concerns – as ever – from my interest and belief in the importance of the built environment, is the quality of design. Such a lot of shoddy third-rate stuff gets built – and then authorities wonder why there is crime, unemployment, anti-social behaviour and so on. Treat people like dirt and they behave that way.