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Just four 'eco-towns' given the go-ahead

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Four ‘eco-towns’ have now been given the go-ahead and will be in line for a share of £60 million of Government infrastructure funding

All are supported or proposed by local authorities and meet the standards for housing needs and climate-change technologies laid down by Whitehall.

They are Rackheath in Norfolk, Whitehill Bordon in East Hampshire, north west Bicester, and the China Clay Community scheme near St Austell in Cornwall. All must still go through the planning process.

The Government originally intended that as many as 10 environmentally-friendly settlements would be built by 2020, but they have been dogged by controversy and opposition from local communities.

A further two towns - Rossington in South Yorkshire and North-East Elsenham in Essex - still have potential to be included after addressing issues connected with the bids. More may also come through future regional and local plans.

Gordon Brown wanted to unveil plans for 10 carbon-neutral communities that would deliver 200,000 new homes on cheap government-owned land in the greenbelt by 2020. The idea was that eco-towns would be so enthusiastically received that they could simply be parachuted into existing local authority development plans and fast-tracked through the system. Developers flocked to get involved in what they saw as a great commercial opportunity.

RTPI policy director Rynd Smith described the announcment as a victory for common sense. He said: ‘When the eco-towns programme was first announced, it rightly caused consternationamongst communities, who saw new towns being parachuted in to local areas with little community involvement in their location, and littledemonstration that they would be innovatively green. 

‘Today’s announcement puts much of that concern to rest and demonstrates that the government has listened.’

While the approved schemes were expected to get the go-ahead, sources close to the programme say that the remaining six towns are now ‘dead in the water’.

Shadow housing minister Grant Schapps previously said: ‘The government’s own assessments admitted that only three of the proposals will be viable without public subsidy, thus requiring the taxpayer to bail out private developers.’


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Readers' comments (1)

  • The idea of carbon neutral is ridiculous. Concrete,bricks,glass, U.P.V.C. plastic is a health hazard,plumbing goods, plastic pipes,all electrical and plumbing goods etc. all'cost ' the environment,just a human breathing emits CO2. Development on green field sites are not sustainable and are not required. It's only 'sustainable if older Victorian houses are demolishedto make way for new with an increase in size since our current small housing stock creates a lot of social problems.We are over populated by a margin of 2.4 X, sea levels will rise and Norfolk is not very mountainous and the Dutch had to organise the land drainage system for the fens and broads,in all a stupid location.We need replacement housing investment not additional .A population policy needs to be implimented for a reduction strategy to reduce pop' to a sustainable level similar to that of the Green Party of New Zealand who I suggest are worthy of a visit for a taste of common sense in the best human tradition,unlike here which is devoid of what used to be 'common'. Look at Tewkesbury,thousands of properties in the flood plain,totally unbelievable. More land is being taken out of agricultural production when we have to import 55% of the food we have now,more job losses. What work is avialable in that area fit for young families ? it's a field ! We can't even get the older properties up to Decent Homes standards. The Hammerby model in Sweden is fine for Sweden in Stockholm ,built on rock,not in a flood plain, the density in Sweden is 20 people per km2 as opposed to Europes average of 117 and the U.K.'s 288, it's unsustainable ! simples ! At least Sweden with their industry and exporting expertise and quality goods, will generate the wealth to fund it,with suitable high wage economy and high tax rates,all from a pop' of only 9 million as opposed to ours of 66 million ! their defense is 1.6 % of GDP, healthcare 8 % and education 7.7%, litteracy rate of 99 %, ours what 66% ? we have more pressing social needs and priorities than these housing estates. Bob.

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