On a day when more job cuts are announced by Britain’s homebuilders (BBC News) I went looking for news about how that might impact the building of the eco-towns. I didn’t have to look far, or so I thought…
With news that Persimmon is to make 2000 job cuts in the UK (BBC News) and both Bovis Homes and Redrow planning to cut their UK workforce by 40% (BBC News) I thought one of them must have dropped out of the various eco-town schemes. Sure enough Persimmon has already pulled out of an eco-town scheme to build 15,000 new houses in Rossington, South Yorkshire, but they did not leave because of the current economic crisis.
UK Coal, one of the partners in the consortium, said Persimmon left after green belt land on which it had options was dropped from the development proposals.
Let me just repeat that one in bold type Persimmon left after green belt land on which it had options was dropped from the development proposals.
Oh yes, these eco-towns are all about the environment, but if the builder can’t build on this bit of greenbelt land they’ve bought up then they’re leaving. How more obvious do we need the action to be, showing how these so called eco-towns are merely being used to allow the crumbling Labour Government to claim it built houses that were needed whilst lining their, and their supporters in the building trade, pockets with money from destroying the rural, green belt protected, landscape.
St Modwen, the driving force behind the exceptionally unpopular “Middle Quinton” development on the former Army base near Long Marston, Warwickshire, have stated publically;
“The selection process for eco-towns should surpass the current economic uncertainty.
“The government is not expected to make a decision about the final eco-town shortlist before 2009.
Hopefully by 2009 St Modwen will have magically created a plan to provide the site with environmentally friendly transport links, and solved the traffic chaos that has blighted the existing population for many years, without the addition of between 6000 and 15000 new homes. I doubt it, but then I also doubt that St Modwen and The Bird Group will have a decent plan for an eco-town either, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts their glossy marketting materials seem to be a very long leap from the reality of a quiet corner of rural Warwickshire. My favourite St Modewen quote from the article has to be:
“If Middle Quinton is selected, we expect the development opportunities it would offer to be very attractive to the house building sector.”
Yes, it may be very attractive to the house building sector, it sure as hell isn’t attractive to the local environment and the local population! Even then, the badly thought out concept established by the government doesn’t contain any legislation that ensures the homes go to the local low-income people that need them. Even the National Association of Estate Agents is worried that second-home investors, and speculators, will snap up the eco-town properties at prices that can’t be afforded by local workers. (BBC News) and you’d think the government would realise they are on thin ice when the voice of an Estate Agent is considered the voice of common sense and reason against their policies!
So before the government makes its mind up, and I bet the final decision will be made before the next general election before the country can vote the Government and its poorly planned policies out, make your voice heard by joining BARD.