LIB DEM CITY COUNCILLORS OPPOSE SHAM 'ECO' TOWNS IN CAMBRIDGESHIRE - CITY COUNCIL

February 1, 2008 11:48 AM

Cambridge Liberal Democrat City Councillors have pledged to oppose proposals made by the Government to create new dormitory towns in Cambridgeshire.

The councillors were unanimous in condemning these proposals. The officials for Communities and Local Government (CLG) have signalled that they favours proposals at Hanley Grange, Alconbury and Waterbeach from a longer list which originally included Six Mile Bottom, Mereham and Peterborough Airport. St Neots is also targeted as a 'New Growth Point'.

The Lib Dem group pointed out that new towns in these locations would put even more pressure on the transport infrastructure into Cambridge, at a time when the level of government investment to support the existing agreed growth plans is still very unclear. They have also denounced the government's attitude towards established democratic processes.

Executive City Councillor for Planning and Transport Sian Reid commented:

"We already have an ambitious growth strategy in place, which is beginning to deliver high numbers of homes. It is based on sound sustainability principles, which must not be undermined by the opportunistic creation of dormitory towns far from centres of employment. .

This programme risks undermining public and political commitment to the growth agenda. The government is clearly willing to act outside the normal democratic planning processes, but residents and councillors will fight growth being imposed upon them.

High standards of sustainability are best met both by encouraging balanced lifestyles, with houses close to jobs and services, and by imposing high standards of sustainable construction on developers in all the developments coming forward.

It is sad to see the term 'eco' being used superficially and cynically by the government to dress up its programmes. .

We have particular concerns in Cambridge about putting more pressure on key radial routes into the city. Milton Road would suffer particularly from proposals such as Waterbeach, which would push massive amounts of traffic down the A10."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1)The proposal for Eco Towns was launched 23 July 2007 in the Eco-towns Prospectus alongside Homes for the Future - The Housing Green Paper. They are expected to meet high standards of sustainability including low and zero carbon technologies and good public transport.

2)The New Growth Points initiative is designed to provide support to local communities who wish to pursue large scale and sustainable growth, including new housing, through a partnership with Government.

3)A shortlist will be published by the end of February or beginning of March, followed by a three or four month consultation run by CLG. The preferred list of potential sites should be published in July.

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