Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

More time for eco-town plan views

Protest - generic image
Plans for eco-towns have created large-scale opposition

The government has allowed more time for residents in Warwickshire to give their views on whether they want a proposed eco-town.

People have until the end of April to comment over Middle Quinton - one of 11 areas shortlisted as possible sites.

Ministers said the aim was to make the most of "green" technology and have a high proportion of affordable housing.

Campaigners lost a High Court challenge in January to the government's plans to build as many as 10 "eco-towns".

Strong opinions

Campaigners from Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire applied for a judicial review of the scheme, arguing it was legally flawed.

But the government said it had "acted properly" throughout the process.

Developments have been scheduled to go ahead by 2020.

There has been widespread criticism, with some schemes being abandoned and the projects facing legal challenges.

The Housing Minister Margaret Beckett has announced that the deadline for public consultation will be extended until the end of April.

She admitted that the issue has raised strong opinions on all sides, and said she wanted all parties, irrespective of views, to use the opportunity to have their say.

An independent assessment of the possible project at Middle Quinton concluded the proposal was not financially viable, it was revealed this week.

The work for local authorities affected by plans to build there suggested the scheme would have a deficit of 373m.

Following the report, the six councils from Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire warned the eco-town could not proceed without "massive public subsidy" which would be better spent elsewhere.



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SEE ALSO
Assessment over eco-town project
24 Feb 09 |  England
Campaigners lose eco-towns appeal
27 Jan 09 |  UK Politics

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