Chairman of the LGA Sir Simon Milton warned that councils are dismayed at the way local democracy and planning processes are being by-passed to impose the schemes on the public. "Without local councils being involved in their development, the future looks bleak for eco-towns and for those who will have to live in them," he said.
The report, "Eco-Towns, back to the future?", argues that the government has failed to learn lessons from the past by falling back on discredited 'new town' powers to impose the initiative on the public.
The LGA argues that by pursuing an eco-town policy that enables the by-passing of decision-making by democratically elected councils, the government risks being both judge and jury. This "flies in the face" of its stated intention to give local councils more control over the areas they represent.
Like the old 'new towns', eco-towns will have unelected management bodies to help develop and manage them, effectively neutering the role of local government, it says.
The report also highlights gap between government rhetoric and construction reality: "Developers are concerned that the highest criteria for zero-carbon homes could add £30,000 to building costs. Caroline Flint has admitted that the new homes could be built at a much lower standard, little different to those set for all new development," said Milton.