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Ecotowns could see South East flooded with unwanted homes, say Assembly

Ministers' plans for environmentally friendly new towns could see thousands of extra homes being forced on the South East through the backdoor, said the South East England Regional Assembly today.

Ecotowns are government proposals for developments with a 70% carbon reduction for homes compared to current building regulations, 40% of the area within the town to be green space and the design of the town to be such that over half the trips originating in the town can be made without a car.

Responding to Government’s latest consultation on proposals for up to three eco-towns in the region, the Assembly has said it wants to see their location and principle examined through the local and regional planning process as well as the viability and the cost of the towns in the current economic climate.

The Assembly has raised concerns that vital public funding for the South East’s transport, schools and health services could be diverted to the development of eco-towns and said the environmental principles of eco-towns, such as zero carbon standards, should be applied to all new developments and existing communities should be made more sustainable.

"We are concerned that the eco-towns project is Government trying to shovel more homes through the backdoor, bypassing the normal planning process," said chairman of the Assembly’s planning committee councillor Moira Gibson.

"It is important that funding for eco-towns’ infrastructure and services is not taken away from the South East’s already overstretched pot. Proposals for these new towns need to be tested through the planning process and should not be additional to the region’s housing target."

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