Report critical of eco-town plans

Mark mark at
Tue Jun 24 01:45:14 BST 2008

Report critical of eco-town plans
Michael Donnelly, PlanningResource, 23 June 2008

An official report into the government's proposed eco-town developments
has raised serious doubts about the viability of current proposals.

According to weekend media reports, the government’s ‘challenge group’,
says that out of the 15 shortlisted sites, less than ten should be given
the go-ahead and of those, only a handful would have proper green

It says that most proposals should be sent back to developers for

But today housing minister Caroline Flint said the proposals are still in
development: "I have been clear from the start that only those bids that
reach the highest possible standards for sustainability can make it

"The Eco-town Challenge panel have played an important role in both
providing advice and encouragement to developers on what they have done
well, but also challenging them to up their game where there is room for
improvement. I'd like to thank the Panel for all their hard work.

"This process was meant to be a challenging ride for the developers, and
they need to be open to the creativity of these ideas. Some clearly need
to up their game and the ball is now in their court."

John Walker, chairman of the Eco-towns Challenge Panel, said: "Our brief
was to challenge each proposal in a robust and constructive way, and I
think we have done a good job on that front. We have seen much to admire,
but in all cases we are challenging the developers to take major steps

"We want the final eco-towns to be better than the best of the current
examples that do exist in the UK and the rest of Europe - clearly there is
still a lot of work to do."

Developers now have the opportunity to consider how they plan to respond
to these challenges before meeting with the Panel again next month to
discuss their work in progress.

The challenge group includes experts on design, the environment, planning,
house building and transport.

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