Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 13:03 UK

Sites make 'eco-town' shortlist

Protest against the Middle Quinton eco-town earlier this year
People living near Long Marston have previously protested against the plans

Two locations in the West Midlands are among 15 shortlisted by the government as sites which could become the first new towns in England for 40 years.

Middle Quinton, at Long Marston, Warks, and Curborough, near Fradley in Staffordshire, have made the list of potential "eco-towns".

The final 10 sites will be chosen in the next six months.

Proposals for a town at a former military base at Throckmorton, in Worcestershire, were not shortlisted.

Ministers have said the new environmentally-friendly towns will be made up of low-energy, carbon-neutral developments built from recycled materials.

However, campaigners living near the proposed sites have fought against the plans saying the idea is a way to evade planning controls.

Rural character

Conservative MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant said he would be urging ministers to reconsider the plans for Curborough.

He said: "My initial view is that by linking Lichfield with Fradley, it will transform Lichfield from being a small, friendly city into being a large urban sprawl.

"Personally, I regret that move."

He added that Curborough's infrastructure would be unable to cope with extra pressure on local roads, schools and hospitals.

John Maples, Tory MP for Stratford-upon-Avon, had previously written to ministers over plans for the old Long Marston airfield.

He argued that building 6,000 new homes at the site would spoil the rural character of the area.

He said: "I am very disappointed.

We have a major shortfall of housing and with so many buyers struggling to find suitable homes, more affordable housing is a huge priority
Caroline Flint
Housing minister

"I had hoped we would be dropped by the government. I do think that eco-towns are a good idea but this is the wrong place for one.

"The transport links are terrible."

Housing minister Caroline Flint said the new towns would help to tackle climate change, as well as providing affordable new housing.

She said: "We have a major shortfall of housing and with so many buyers struggling to find suitable homes, more affordable housing is a huge priority.

"To face up to the threat of climate change, we must also cut the carbon emissions from our housing. Eco-towns will help solve both of these challenges."

Work on the final 10 towns to be chosen is expected to start by 2020.


video and audio news
Residents speak about fighting the scheme.



SEE ALSO
'Eco-towns' shortlist is revealed
03 Apr 08 |  UK Politics
Eco-town 'would mean' 3,000 jobs
28 Feb 08 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
MP lodges objection to eco-town
06 Feb 08 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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