Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Judith Armitt Resigns

Juith Armitt, the Chief Executive the Thames Gateway project has abruptly resigned. This comes barely a week after the Thames Gateway forum event at Docklands Excel centre, where the project plans for the next three years were launched. No official reason has been given for the abrupt departure, though the Times, is running an article suggesting it was after a spat with Minister for Housing Yvette Cooper. I have no inside gossip on that, but Judith's departure is not good news for Basildon, where the Basildon Renaissance Partnership is a successful Thames Gateway delivery vehicle. We have real projects and a development portfolio of around £1.5bn that rely on support from the Thames Gateway initiative, and any impression of drift or disorganisation does not help the cause of improving Basildon District. In particular the lack of cross-party political support for the Thames Gateway is worrying, though not necessarily surprising given this sort of development. We must hope that Judith's successor can pull things together, and quickly, if the project is not to lose momentum. It is far too important to Basildon for that.

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