Lifestyle considerations for the Harlow proposal were given a good airing by Samantha Heath from London's Sustainable Development Commission. Would it feel different to older models of development, and how? Would advantage be taken of proximity to farms and food production?
Would the proportion of people working locally rather than commuting to London be significant? Would water recovery, recycling and other technologies be taken seriously? All this could happen in theory, it transpired.
The question was whether it could be guaranteed as part of the planning process. It was left to Peter Redfern, boss of Wimpey Homes, to remind everyone that market forces cannot be ignored.
As someone remarked, it may be that people in 'north Harlow' might prefer to get in their notso-environmental cars and drive to Bluewater to do their shopping, rather than go to a local farmers' market or shopping centre.