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New report highlights concerns over Eco towns

The government’s Eco-town consultation has highlighted concerns over the planning and appropriateness of plans, according to a report compiled by consultant Scott Wilson.

1,200 people or organisations responded to the government consultation.

Respondents did recognise the need for both more sustainable communities and of the need for more housing.

However, many queried whether eco-towns were the most appropriate response to these needs.

Some felt that greater attention should be given to retrofitting existing housing to make it more sustainable. ‘Urban extensions’ were found to have the potential to deliver sustainable development.

The report also suggested that people were concerned that Eco-towns bypassed the planning system. “There was also concern that eco-town developments might detract from local planning and regeneration objectives,” read the report.

A second concern was over locations chosed for Eco-towns, including: “calls for the inclusion of further criteria such as housing need, waste management and environmental issues.”

Finally, the environmental standards were questioned - especially that transportation emissions should be included when calculating carbon footprints of Eco-towns.

The government said that Eco-towns would be taken through the existing planning process, but they felt the existing planning policy was sufficient for choosing locations. The government also rejected calls for transport to be included in Eco-town carbon footprints, but included new standards for healthy living, landscape and historic environment.

Eco towns are proposed as being:

  • Zero carbon status across all the town’s buildings, including commercial and public buildings as well as homes
  • 40% of the area within the town to be green space, at least half of which should be open to the public as parks or recreation areas
  • A minimum of one job per house can be reached by walking, cycling or public transport to reduce dependence on the car
  • All homes are located within ten minutes walk of frequent public transport and everyday neighbourhood services
  • Smart, efficient, affordable homes taking their energy from renewable sources

The following towns have had their submission approved:

  • Rackheath, Norfolk
  • North West Bicester
  • Whitehill-Bordon, Hampshire
  • St Austell (China Clay Community), Cornwall

Also submitting Eco-town proposals:

  • Pennbury (Stoughton), Leicestershire
  • Middle Quinton, Warwickshire
  • Weston Otmoor and Cherwell, Oxfordshire
  • Ford, West Sussex
  • Rossington, South Yorkshire
  • Newton-Bingham, Kingston and Cotgrave Place (Rushcliffe), Nottinghamshire
  • North East Elsenham, Essex

These proposals were originally submitted, but have since been withdrawn:

  • Hanley Grange, Cambridgeshire
  • Marston Vale, Bedfordshire
  • Coltishall, Norfolk
  • Curborough, Warwickshire
  • Manby, Lincolnshire
  • LeedsCity Region

Readers' comments (1)

  • Surprised by your out-of-date and erroneous ‘proposals’ list given that 4 have been selected – surely more useful to list these, which includes Rackheath.

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