I travelled up to the O2 Arena today, to attend the Thames Gateway Forum 2009. In previous years the event ran across two days, with local authorities, regeneration experts and construction companies from all over the Thames Gateway region of North Kent, South Essex and East London. Last year there were seemingly hundreds of trade stands and breakout sessions, and hundreds of attendees.
What a difference a year makes! This year’s event was shortened to one day only, with a networking reception last night. The venue, the IndigO2 – is a smaller space than the Arena itself, and there were a much smaller number of both stands and attendees present.
Nevertheless, it was useful to go along. I listened with interest to both Joe Montgomery from DCLG and Sir Bob Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency giving their view of developments in the Thames Gateway. Also on the agenda was Sir Terry Farrell who has been asked by Sir Bob to ‘refresh the Gateway vision’. Sir Terry is always worth listening to, and his own particular take on the project was fascinating.
It was also an excellent opportunity to meet with colleagues from outside Kent, as well as those I see almost weekly, but never seem to have the chance to just sit and chat with over coffee. Today spawned several good ideas from those chats, any of which could be timely and effective projects.