"I am opposed to expansion of the Kent Science Park and opposed to massive housing developments south of the A2"
Cllr Mike Whiting prior to supporting HIF bid
Chief refutes MP's claim over Thames Gateway
THE woman in charge of delivering the Thames Gateway plan says an MP's fears about repeating the housing mistakes of the 196Os are groundless.
This week a committee of MPs warned that the project to build 160,000 houses and bring an expected 180,000 jobs by 2016, could actually become a "public spending calamity".
Derek Wyatt MP, a junior member of the Government, said he was "nervous" about the way it was being delivered and the quality of the housing being built.
But Thames Gateway chief executive Judith Armitt, believes Mr Wyatt is reacting to out-of-date information.
The Thames Gateway covers an area stretching 40 miles eastwards from Canary Wharf to the mouth of the Thames Estuary, taking in Dartford, Gravesham, Medway and Swale.
The entire project will cost hundreds of mil-lions of pounds, much of which will come from the public purse.
Mr Wyatt, the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey who was a member of the report committee, said that high-density housing was "making families vulnerable".
He said: "After the war, in the 1960s, it was decided the way to do cheap housing was to build high-rises. Now we're taking them down or we will take them down.
"They have not created a sensible community, they've alienated people. If we build tens of thousands of houses in the Gateway my worry is we will relocate the mistakes in housing we made with the high-rises."
Mr Wyatt said the project's "underlying flaw" was that its management did not have enough power.
But Mrs Armitt said the MPs' report was "out-of-date".
She said: "It is a report of the hearing the Public Accounts Committee held in June, which was based on the National Audit Office report before that."
Mrs Armitt added: "The management has really changed, that was a study you could have run when there wasn't a chief executive, a cross-government board and a clear plan. Now we've got, all those things. I think huge progress has been made in the last six months."
Mrs Armitt also defended the decision to build high density housing.
She added: "It is about quality of design. You can get the right balance, but we have to put care into it."