Number 10’s response to the ecotown petition

I’ve just recieved the email link to Number 10’s response to the petition initiated by BARD on the Number 10 website.  This website was launched with much joy and gusto to allow the people to communicate directly with the driving forces of New Labour.  It was billed as a way to have the feelings of the general public heard and responded to.  Instead it has become a joke, between the humorous petitions to have Spandau Ballet’s “Gold” replace “God save the Queen” as the national anthem the real petitions have been fobbed off with responses that appear to have been written by office interns on a Friday afternoon.

So for your consideration, here is the text of the petition:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop consideration of possible Eco-town at Long Marston near Stratford-upon-Avon.”

Details of Petition:

“The site of the former Number 1 Engineers Supply Depot [ Army ] and adjoining land at Long Marston has been submitted as a possible site for a new Government Eco-town by St Modwyn and The Bird Group.By mid-February 2008 the Government are to choose 10 sites out of 50 to 60 submitted. There is considerable opposition locally as this is presently within a peaceful corner of South Warwickshire, where the need for such a new town is generally considered neither necessary nor desirable. Most importantly, the infrastructure for a new town does not exist and the site is served by one B- class road and country lanes only. A new town with a minimum population of 13,000 [ half the size of Stratford-upon-Avon ] will bring traffic chaos to Stratford,an important tourist town, with only two very limited crossings over the River Avon. I therefore petition the Prime Minister to confer urgently with Hazel Blears MP to whom letters opposing the proposals have been sent.”

To which Number 10 has responded:

On 4 November 2008 the Department for Communities and Local Government launched the second stage of the eco-towns consultation programme and published a Draft Eco-Towns Planning Policy Statement (PPS), Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Impact Assessment. In the accompanying press notice, the Housing Minister outlined the shortlist of locations with the potential to be an eco-town.  Middle Quinton was included in this list.  The consultation closed on 30 April 2009.

The Government recognises the strength and depth of feeling that proposals for new housing development generate. All representations received as part of the current consultation will be considered, alongside location assessments, before Government publishes the final PPS and list of locations with the potential to be an eco-town later this year.

No final decisions on sites have been taken. It is not expected that all locations will be endorsed. The PPS will set the toughest ever green standards required of new development in the UK and proposals will need to demonstrate their potential to meet them if they are to be short-listed. The Sustainability Appraisal chapter on Middle Quinton identifies a number of issues which would need to be addressed were the proposal to go forward.

A financial viability study of the eco-towns programme prepared with input from external advisors was published on 5 March 2009.  All documents can be viewed at www.direct.gov.uk/ecotowns

Now I believe you can read that as a condescending pat on the head, “Well done for writing a petition, it doesn’t change anything though”.

Now I’m hoping the sudden abandonment of the post by Hazel “Communities, who listens to them?” Blears from Browns rapidly shrinking cabinet means that we’ll see a more logical pair of hands at the helm of rural redevelopment in the near future.  However, I’m realistic enough to understand that with things as bad as they are right now for Brown and the Labour party, they might just keep steering into the crash just to see how much worse things can get!

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