I am today announcing that from 1 April 2012 the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation (TTGDC) will cease operation and become part of Thurrock borough council, although a decision on the treatment of the assets currently held by TTGDC will be made at a later stage.
Last year, the previous Administration undertook a quinquennial review of the development corporation’s performance from inception. Following that review, it was decided that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) should be transferred into the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). I have reviewed this decision and have concluded that this should not be implemented—it was a centralising measure that would have further distanced local people from decisions about the future of their area. In addition, the consultation undertaken as part of the review showed clearly that there was no local support in favour of this decision.
In deciding the way forward for TTGDC, I have considered the coalition commitments to cutting the costs of quangos and increasing accountability, and to localism. I have concluded that it is right TTGDC should transfer to the local council. This will chime with our approach to the Thames Gateway generally, where I am decentralising strategic oversight to local political leaders. This will lead to a number of benefits including:
maintaining the momentum of private sector investment;
enabling efficiency savings to be made through shared services;
achieving value for money by limiting public sector investment necessary to enable maximum private investment;
strengthening local control over regeneration and the operation of planning responsibilities, and;
strengthening the council’s capacity to drive regeneration.
In order to affect these changes TTGDC will move into the council’s premises by March 2011, enabling some efficiency gains to be realised quickly. TTGDC will work more closely with the council during 2011-12, before ceasing independent operation from 1 April 2012. It will be formally wound up following adoption of its final report and accounts later that year. The treatment of the assets currently held by TTGDC will be considered as part of the detailed arrangements for the transfer.