Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 09:25 UK

Eco-town inquiry gets under way

Existing eco-homes built on The Wintles estate in Bishop's Castle
The developers said allotments and green space would be included

The promoters of a proposed 5,000-home eco-town in West Sussex are setting out their vision at an inquiry into the plan.

Arun District Council has set up a select committee to investigate the proposals for the eco-town, at Ford, near Littlehampton.

The site is one of 15 across England to be shortlisted by the government for the 10 new towns.

The announcement in April was met by a storm of protest from MPs and locals.

Conservative MPs Nick Herbert and Nick Gibb said the development at Ford airfield was "universally opposed" by locals and would be "unsustainable".

But the council has said its six-day inquiry, by eight councillors and an independent planning advisor, will be unbiased and conducted with open minds.

Its findings will be put before the council at the end of June and submitted to the government as part of its consultation process.

Starter homes

The first day's hearing, at Arun council chamber, begins with a presentation by Ford Airfield Vision Group (FAVG) which will give more details of the proposal.

FAVG said the 5,000 new homes would include 2,000 affordable dwellings including starter homes to family houses and retirement properties.

There would be about 4,000 jobs in knowledge-based industries, such as research and development, technology and light industry in business parks.

There would be new shops, a health facility, secondary school and community and sports facilities with large amounts of green space and allotments.

A relocated Ford railway station would have a bus interchange with links to Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Portsmouth, Brighton, Crawley and Gatwick.

The eco-town would also help deliver the A27 Arundel bypass.

'Eco-towns' shortlist is revealed
03 Apr 08 |  UK Politics
'Eco-town' plans: Site-by-site
03 Apr 08 |  UK Politics

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