Collapse of eco-towns plan is denied by govt.

Gerrard Winstanley office at
Mon Oct 27 23:07:28 GMT 2008

Collapse of eco-towns plan denied

    * Published: 27 October 2008 10:09

Labour's flagship eco-town policy is reported to be under threat with
only two communities now expected to be built - although officials say
the progamme is "on track".

According to The Observer, officials at the Department for Communities
and Local Government have concluded only 'one or two' of the 15
shortlisted projects are genuinely viable.

The paper claims the advisory Eco-Towns Challenge Panel has reached
similar conclusions.

A spokesman for the DCLG told the paper the programme remained on track.

It says some bidders have already dropped out, while others are said
to have been alarmed by the house price crash and the collapse in sales.

The new housing minister Margaret Beckett will make the final decision.

Eco-towns have been a key part of Gordon Brown's vision - one of the
first big ideas he announced within days of becoming Labour leader.

At the time, he said: "For the first time in nearly half a century we
will show the imagination to build new towns - eco-towns with low- and
zero-carbon homes."

Grant Shapps, the Tory housing spokesman, said: "They came up with a
good idea but they messed it up by going for a top-down 'ministers
know best where they should go' approach."

    * Author: Robin Latchem.

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