Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

St Austell gets 9m to start eco-town project

Baal Pit
The aim of the eco-town project is to help regenerate the china clay area

Cornwall is to get £9m to help get its eco-town project off the ground.

Housing Minister John Healey confirmed the project to regenerate the china clay area will receive a share of a £60m government handout.

The money will be used to create a number of "carbon-neutral eco-show homes" around St Austell to give residents an example of green living.

Some houses will also be given a green makeover featuring water-saving systems and smart meters to monitor energy use.

There will also be renewable power and electric car charging points.

In addition, cash will go towards boosting energy efficiency of schools in the areas.

'Clay pit sites'

St Austell was named in July as one of four areas chosen by the government to have eco-towns.

In November, the clay company Imerys announced Baal Pit and West Carclaze would be the locations for up to 2,000 new eco-homes.

The project will eventually involve properties being built at five separate locations around the St Austell area.

The other three eco-town areas are Rackheath in Norfolk, Bicester in Oxfordshire and Whitehill Bordon, East Hants.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has said that the construction of the new homes in the four areas will support up to 2,000 local jobs and introduce thousands of people to the benefits of green living.

Most of the houses will be for sale, with a third of them affordable homes. However, some will remain as permanent "eco-show homes".

Government plans to create the "carbon-neutral" communities on former industrial sites were first announced by Gordon Brown, then chancellor, in May 2007.

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