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PM-in-waiting promises eco-friendly 'Brown Towns'

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Gordon Brown has pledged to build five new 'eco-towns' should he become the next Prime Minister.

The Chancellor said he intends to build 100,000 new homes in the five environmentally friendly developments, which will rely entirely on sustainable energy sources.

Dubbed 'Brown Towns', the scheme will see five brownfield sites around the country transformed into new housing developments that will enable young people to get onto the property ladder.

Each of the towns will be built to current zero-carbon standards, making them exempt from stamp duty, which is seen as a major obstacle for first-time buyers.

The move will be particularly welcomed by practices such as Bill Dunster's ZEDFactory and BBM Architects, which are leading the industry in building zero-carbon developments.

The first site earmarked by Brown is the abandoned Oakington Barracks in Cambridgeshire, recently bought by English Partnerships for £100 million. Councils will be invited to bid for the other four towns.

Speaking about his new plans, Brown said: 'If we are to meet the aspirations of every young couple to do the best for themselves and their children, then we need to build new homes, and we need to deliver well-planned, green and prosperous communities where they will want to live.'

by Richard Vaughan

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