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Credit crunch won’t stop boom time ahead, Bob promises

PUBLISHED: 00:01 23 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:49 05 October 2010

A BONANZA of 8,000 new jobs and just as many new homes is forecast for East London as a top regeneration expert plans how to spend our way out of the recession. That’s the prediction the new chairman of London Thames Gateway development corporation, Bob Lane, made on Friday in his first public comments since Housing Minister Margaret Beckett put him in charge earlier this month

Mike Brooke

A BONANZA of 8,000 new jobs and just as many new homes is forecast for East London as a top regeneration expert plans how to spend our way out of the recession.

That’s the prediction the new chairman of London Thames Gateway development corporation, Bob Lane, made on Friday in his first public comments since Housing Minister Margaret Beckett put him in charge earlier this month.

Beckett has given him just three years to deliver his pledge by the time the £141,000 part-time post finishes at the end of 2011. She’s paying him almost £47,000 a year for an average two days a week.

But Bob believes he’ll do it because development corporations like his can attract massive investment from the money markets—even during the down-turn in the economy—as they provide a “safe landing pad” for when times get better.

“We cannot allow the credit crunch to deflect us,” he says. “It reinforces the need to roll up our sleeves and create the right infrastructure, as well as intervene in the property market to mitigate the impact.”

Thames Gateway—the Government’s main regeneration agency for an area stretching 40 miles from Poplar and Bromley-by-Bow, in London’s deprived East End, out to Essex and Kent—is investing £237 million in eight locations to create 7,900 new jobs and 8,200 new homes.

This will attract a massive £1.8 billion from the world of commerce, Bob Lane believes, because development corporations are the safe landing pad’ for investors once growth returns.

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