Eco-towns pla n comes under fire
The government's strategy for building new eco-towns across Britain has been slammed by North Norfolk District Council though it reiterated its support for the principle of building of an eco-town at RAF Coltishall, Gordon Brown has said he wants to build 10 new sustainable communities in the coming years and a plan, by developer Richard Davies, to build an eco-town on land at RAF Coltishall in Scottow, made it on to a shortlist of 15 possible sites in April.
The government's strategy for building new eco-towns across Britain has been slammed by North Norfolk District Council though it reiterated its support for the principle of building of an eco-town at RAF Coltishall,
Gordon Brown has said he wants to build 10 new sustainable communities in the coming years and a plan, by developer Richard Davies, to build an eco-town on land at RAF Coltishall in Scottow, made it on to a shortlist of 15 possible sites in April.
The government is now consulting on it plans and seeking opinions on the viability of each site.
At a meeting on Monday NNDC's cabinet accepted an officer recommendation that the council respond to the consultation by: “Restating its support for the principles of such developments but expressing its concern at the haste with which the government is seeking to take forward its programme… with little public consultation on the principle of such proposals.”
A report to the meeting listed a host of concerns with the government's strategy. These included lack of consideration of the impact an eco-town might have on the wider area and lack of public participation on the principle of an eco-town development being taken forward in North Norfolk.
It said the government has not ensured the new settlements will be in the correct locations and not just where developers have identified an interest and that all 15 proposals are all very similar and may not act as the exemplars they should be.
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The report also said the government has not made clear how its proposed environmental building standards will be achieved or enforced.
Richard Davies first revealed his eco-town plans for RAF Coltishall last year. Though the Ministry of Justice plans to use part of the former airbase as a category C prison, it has said it does not have any concerns that both cannot be delivered on the site.
The development would consist of 5,000 new eco homes, over 100 hectares of wetland and open space, a business and technology park and retail development, a new primary school and other community facilities, a hotel and a Douglas Bader memorial museum.
But the cabinet report went on to list a number of serious concerns with the plan.
These included the size of the development, which would be equivalent to the number of homes in North Walsham at the time of the 2001 census, and whether sufficient transport links will be in place during the early stages of the development.
There are also questions about how the development would deal with water and waste issues and whether the nature habitats created would be appropriate for the area.