Beckett underlined the government’s commitment to the Thames Gateway and pledged to identify and help regeneration schemes that are at risk of stalling in the face of the economic slowdown.

‘I can’t pretend that the Gateway will be immune to the slow down but I can say that in the short term all of us in government are very much alert to the challenges and we will be working with partners to identify pressures on business to take the appropriate action’

She added: 'We are already working with partners across the Gateway to identify the most significant challenges and determine how these can be overcome. We have asked the three regional development agencies covering the Gateway to identify those regeneration schemes which are most at risk to see if we can try to keep them on track.’

Beckett, opeaking at the Thames Gateway forum, said that the first £100m of public money identified by Prime Minister Gordon Brown when he address the forum last year, is now in the hands of delivery agencies on the ground.

Beckett said that CLG will hand over responsibility for the delivery of the Thames Gateway to the new Homes and Communities Agency from next week. The money set aside for the Gateway will total £400m between 2008 and 2011, compared with the HCA’s overall budget of £17.3bn

Kerslake promised delegates that transaction time between the private sector and public sector agencies will be speeded up and that the HCA will oversee ‘accelerated regeneration’ coming through.

Kerslake also told delegates that architect Sir Terry Farrell is to have a formal advisory role to develop the strategic vision for the Gateway.

Farrell, who has spent the past year working on promoting parklands in the Gateway, will have an extended brief beyond sustainability to cover social and economic issues.