Eco-towns should be near urban sprawl, say planning chief
The Government should drop proposals for eco-towns in rural locations and concentrate instead on developing sustainable communities in urban areas, according to the chairman of Birmingham’s planning committee.
Councillor Peter Douglas Osborn said the council would be pushing ahead with its own plans to build five eco-towns within the Birmingham city boundary.
He said locations favoured by the Government for eco-towns including Long Marston, near Stratford-upon-Avon, and Curborough, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, made “no sense” because they were isolated from transport links and nowhere near urban centres.
Coun Douglas Osborn (Con Weoley) added: “Without established infrastructure, residents would face lengthy commutes by car for all social, work and educational activities. This would actually increase, rather than reduce, carbon emissions. Eco-towns within urban settings with already establish infrastructures and links are the only sustainable solution, and we’d urge the Government to acknowledge the clear contradiction in its rural eco-town plans.
“Only when this policy is reversed can the sustainability agenda truly be taken forward and the necessary central investment be channelled into issues such as green building technology, urban regeneration and developing public transport systems which cut carbon emissions by getting significant numbers of people out of their cars.”
The city council unveiled plans at the MIPIM international property fair to develop five new eco-towns within the city over the next 20 years.
The first sustainable settlement would be developed in Longbridge where plans are already on the drawing board to create 1,400 low carbon homes, 10,000 jobs, relocate a college and develop a new town centre.
Further towns are proposed at Icknield Port Loop in Edgbaston, the Wheels site in Saltley and in the Tyseley and Marston Green areas to the east and south east of the city centre.
Each town is planned as part of wider regeneration schemes which would see new local transport links, employment opportunities and cultural facilities developed.