Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Eco-Town or Eco-Con?


This week I joined protestors from across the country to lobby Westminster about proposed Eco-Towns. Whilst the protesters were not objecting to the need to building environmentally sustainable homes, it appears that many of the proposed Eco-towns will be far from that.

The nearest Eco-town proposed to me is Hanley Grange, to be constructed on a prime green field location. It is not "in my back yard" but the impact will be felt on our already overcrowded roads and infrastructure. The A1307 has already claimed 3 lives this year and, like many rural roads, simply can not take any more traffic. Developers claim that 40% of journeys from this Eco-town will not be by car - but that still means the majority will. This town has already been turned down twice purely because the location did not meet sustainability tests.

There is a need for affordable housing for local people, but 40% of the 42,500 homes already planned around Cambridge will be affordable. That is nearly three times the number of people currently waiting for housing.

All new homes should be built to higher environmental standards - but the sustainablity standards for Eco-town homes appear to be dropping below that expected of others. The government has back-tracked from its initial promise that the one town already approved (ie Northstowe) will be an Eco-town. The more I learn about this fast tracking through the planning process for Eco-towns the more I believe that this is being driven by political headline grabbing rather than a desire to go green. More Here

7 comments:

Andrew Allison said...

This government has a knack of coming up with the most awful and unpopular polices. It's 'Eco-towns' proposals are half-baked and ill-thought out. It's assault on the countryside seems never ending.

As far as the road infrastructure is concerned, perhaps they think by the time they have priced so many of us off the road, it won't be an issue any more?

Vicky Ford said...

Good point - I asked a meeting of residents from 4 different constituencies the other night which of them were now thinking twice before getting in their cars... every hand went up

John W. Whitworth said...

I entirely agree that eco-towns in rural locations are unsustainable. Weston Otmoor eco-town, opposed by the Weston Front, is in a location so unsustainable before a brick is laid that a full 80% of residents will be ofrced from their cars.

Jim said...

I agree with you. Higher building standards across the board will address many problems, not least of which is fuel poverty which will only increase with soaring energy costs.

Anonymous said...

Didnt the land at the so called Hanley Grange site used to belong till recently to a former Tory councillor in South Cambridgeshire District Council ?
Wasnt he till he resigned the chairman of its planning committee ?

Vicky Ford said...

I believe that this land has mostly belonged to Tescos for some time, the remainder is owned by the Welcome Trust who have announced they will not allow Hanley Grange to be built on their part of the land.

tiny said...

Whilst some are riding the gravy train, spare a thought for those who are left behind in vacuum of horrendous suffering, on the most part because you can't be bothered:

http://www.littlehamptongazette.co.uk/news/Council-housing-in-crisis.1257411.jp