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Ditch Thames Gateway for towns like Croydon, developers told


DEVELOPMENT OF the Thames Gateway should be shunned in favour of rebuilding existing towns in the South East, a leading architect said last week.

Speaking at the MIPIM property show in Cannes, Ken Shuttleworth, MAKE principal and architect of the London Swiss Re tower, the Gherkin, said it was more sustainable to build in city centres than on undeveloped ood plains.

'We have to rebuild places in city centres that are already next to major infrastructure, ' he said.

'You have got to build around those existing connections and try to not build in places that you can only get to by car.' Shuttleworth's architectural practice is masterplanning the potential redevelopment of a site next to East Croydon station and working on the redevelopment of the Elephant and Castle in south London.

His comments came after transport secretary Douglas Alexander identied Croydon and Reading as key South East stations, and Network Rail secured funding for Reading's expansion (News last week. ) 'Sustainability is at the top of the agenda now and the regeneration of towns lies at its heart, ' said Shuttleworth.

We don't have to build on land built on before if we don't need it. Why not put [brown sites] back to grass and turn them into elds and parks? It's all about consolidation. We can get these towns to city levels rather than a spread and sprawl.' The government denies that towns in the south of England are in direct competition with the Thames Gateway, while Thames Gateway supporters claim that towns such as Croydon and Reading would be unable to offer the same levels of new housing.

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