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Environmentally Friendly Eco Town Scheme may be scrapped

February 25, 2009

An independent study of one of the potential envirnomentally eco-town projects has concluded that the proposal is not financially viable.

The assessment for the six local authorities affected by proposals to build one of the environmentally-friendly new developments at Middle Quinton, near Stratford-upon-Avon, suggested the scheme would have a deficit of £373 million.

According to consultants CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) the money to be made from the development would not be sufficient to fund the provision of infrastructure such as public transport, roads and schools.

In the wake of the report, the councils warned the eco-town could not proceed without “massive public subsidy” which would be better spent elsewhere.

The councils’ eco-town joint working group chairman Charles Gillams said: “The independent assessment confirms our long held doubts about the viability of an eco-town in this location. It would appear that the development could not proceed without massive public subsidy. Such public expenditure would be better directed to sustainable urban locations where needs can be matched with opportunities and existing infrastructure can be utilised more effectively.”

The eco-towns, intended to tackle the twin problems of housing shortages and climate change, have to be carbon zero as a whole, be an “exemplar” in one area of environmental development and have at least 30% affordable housing. Up to 10 are proposed, with five being built by 2016 and a further five by 2020.

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