The eco-town farce rolls on

First, the good news is that the government has announced the 4 “eco-town” development sites they will be ruthlessly forcing through awaiting planning permission for and the disasterous Middle Quinton proposal is not in the final four!

The final four are:

  • Rackheath, Norfolk
  • north-west Bicester, Oxfordshire
  • Whitehill Bordon, East Hants
  • China Clay Community near St Austell, Cornwall.

from BBC News – Four sites to become ‘eco-towns’

The bad news, put into words brilliantly by David Bliss, Chairman of BARD:

“Taxpayers will be dismayed to learn that some 2 years and several million pounds later, the Government’s disastrous eco-town programme will result in around 19,000 new homes against its target of 240,000 by 2016. Rarely in the history of planning policy have so many resources been diverted for so long towards a programme that has delivered so little.

quoted from The BARD Campaign responds to the eco-town shortlist announcement

So for all the New Labour fans out there this means that Gordon Brown has delivered less than 8% (7.91% for those wanting 2 decimal places of accuracy) of the eco-homes he had promised.  The construction is scheduled to begin by 2016 which is later than proposed, and the plans are over budget.  There really is nothing more representative of our current government than a ” get less, for more, later than you expected” deal!

So now the fight goes on to stop these ill advised political housing developments and to encourage responsible building and a sensible look at both urban and rural housing needs and ways to mitigate their environmental impact.

Interestingly St Modwen have not responded yet, and the last press-release on their website is headed “St Modwen releases further details on Long Marston masterplan” in which John Dodds, Midlands regional director for St. Modwen commented:

there appears to be some suspicion over the number of houses we are proposing. We can confirm that this planning application is for no more than 500 houses and the leisure/employment aspects of the site included within our application do not allow for more dense housing numbers.

Here we have yet another example of the false information spread by the developers because on the “Middle Quinton a new eco-town” website (built and maintained by St Modwen and The Bird Group” in the FAQ section there is the following text:

Who is going to buy the houses? Where are people going to come from?

2,000 homes will be affordable as defined by the local authorities (who have over 13,000 residents on their affordable lists). The other 4,000 will be built over a period of 12 or 15s year so we expect most people to come from the surrounding local areas.

source Middle Quiton a new eco-town FAQ

The original document I saw Middle Quinton – A New Eco-town FAQ in PDF format

Now I’m no mathematical genius Mr Dodds, but when your own website suggests that 2000 homes will be defined affordable by the local authority, and another 4000 will be built on the site, I calculate that 6000 homes will be built.  Now, I’m pretty certain that unless you went to the Gordon Brown school of economic return 6000 homes is considerably more than 500 homes!  Even the 2000 planned for the initial local authority distribution is four times the number you are quoting as fact in your press release!

All the more reason to keep supporting The BARD Campaign!

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