News that Tesco has abandoned its plans to create an eco-town at Hanley Grange is the latest blow to the Government's controversial eco-town plans says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). Already two other proposed eco-town projects have fallen by wayside and in one scheme based in Peterborough the Government has been forced to pump £16 million of public money into a zero-carbon exemplar housing scheme just to get it off the ground. Recently the Local Government Association has had to consider legal action in a bid to stop the Government circumventing normal planning procedures in order to get eco-town developments approved. As support for eco-towns dwindles, even the Conservative Party now no longer supports the idea. While, earlier this month the Government had to announce that it was delaying the final decision on naming the first UK eco-towns until early next year.
Welcoming Tesco's decision, Helen Osgood, FMB Eastern Regional Director said:
"Eco-towns are in reality little more than new settlements and are a misguided attempt to provide more homes on the premise that they will be beacons of sustainability. While they may sound lovely, eco-town plans are nothing short of a government 'green wash' to hide its top down housing policy. I am therefore delighted by the decision that Tesco have taken."
"If the Government is really serious about sustainable settlements the better solution would be to develop a patchwork of hundreds of smaller eco-projects, with contracts awarded by local regions for both new homes and refurbishment of old buildings with green measures spread across arrange of proven technologies."
"Small numbers of new homes in every village, town, and city built to a high quality, with sufficient open space and sensitive to the local environment, would offer a more sustainable long term approach to our housing needs than the Government's top down housing policy which has been dressed up as eco-towns. Now that really would be a sustainable housing policy!."
29 August 2008