New Eco-towns could be a tall order

As part of new Prime Minister Gordon Brown's pledge towards new and affordable housing, the establishment of "Eco-towns" will be a priority.

A promise by Government to build much-needed housing in the UK would include plans to develop 100,000 new dwellings on a proposed 550 sites owned by central government. Whitehall also believes local authorities own sufficient brownfield sites to provide for a further 60,000 new homes.

In the ‘pledge’ that is getting mixed reviews by various experts and press, the government’s new plans would see 3 million new homes built by 2020, and would raise annual house-building target for 2016 from 200,000 new homes to 240,000.

As part of his statement, Gordon Brown said that Government would consult on how local councils could use the New Towns Act to enable ‘eco towns’ – with zero or low carbon homes – to be built more quickly.

Critics have said that Gordon Brown’s plans to build new housing – more specifically the ‘environmentally-friendly’ dwellings – as ambitious due to budgets and planning restrictions.

The Prime Minister was resolute that the ‘accelerated building programme’ would be sustainable concentrating on brownfield land, and that the building would not result in the concreting over of the Green Belt.

“I can assure the House that that we will continue to protect robustly the land designated as Green Belt,” he said.

In a statement to Parliament the Prime Minister explained that English Partnerships was negotiating a new deal with the Ministry of Defence to acquire at least six major redundant sites, which would be redeveloped to provide over 7,000 new homes.

The Prime Minister promised both a Planning Reform Bill and a new Housing and Regeneration Bill in the coming parliamentary session. A housing green paper will also be published later this month.

Dana Gornitzki

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