Designer Wayne Hemingway said the quality of buildings being developed in the Thames Gateway were not up to scratch today at the Thames Gateway Forum.
He said if nothing is done to improve it no one would want to live there.
Hemingway, who founded Hemingway Design and started the retail store Red or Dead, said that the Gateway cannot be looked at as a homogeneous mass. ‘You have to get the DNA of the place. People make places and if the Thames Gateway is going to really take off, it needs people who are going to go into an area that has got, in general, quite a bad reputation,’ said Hemingway.
To attract people to the Gateway, he suggested consulting more with those wanting to live there and less with the local authorities.
Apart from the design there is a significant challenge for the government to deliver its ambitious housing target of 160,000 homes by 2016.
A report by Knight Frank said that delivery of houses in the London area of the Gateway has been slow over the past 12 months.
It says, the presence of 37 overlapping government agencies involved in the Gateway, and 25 ‘work-in-progress’ transport infrastructure projects is causing delays.
Continuation of this trend, it says, will force developers to cut build costs to achieve profit targets, and this will raise questions over the quality and sustainability of new developments.