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Gateway homes plan threatened

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The country’s largest regeneration project is in jeopardy after London mayor Boris Johnson cancelled an extension to the Docklands Light Railway.

Barking & Dagenham LBC leader Charles Fairbrass (Lab) complained his council had been made “pig in the middle” in a dispute between the mayor and the government over transport finance.

The 10,500-home Barking Riverside development is vital to the Thames Gateway the largest of the government’s growth areas and to securing the 110,000 homes ministers have planned there by 2016.

But planning permission allows for only 1,500 homes without the rail extension to Dagenham Dock.

Cllr Fairbrass said: “I don’t like being made pig in the middle when there are 9,000 homes at stake. The roads around that area are horrendous and it’s not possible to develop it without that line.”

He said he suspected Mr Johnson’s move was partly designed to force the government to finance the line or face the embarrassment of the project’s collapse.

The mayor said: “We need to focus on delivering the projects that will give the greatest benefits to Londoners, and not to proceed with spending money on projects that are yet to receive the necessary funding from government and other sources”.

The mayor cancelled a proposed Thames bridge between Greenwich and Newham.

Greenwich LBC leader Chris Roberts (Lab) said the mayor had “elected to avoid any discussion about these schemes with council leaders directly affected by his decision”.

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