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More plans for new towns revealed

1 December 09 18:18 GMT

Plans to build a string of new towns of at least 5,000 homes each are being developed by nine local authorities aided by a government grant of £10m.

The first four developments were announced for Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Cornwall in July.

Now authorities in Lincolnshire, Leeds, Coventry, Taunton and Yeovil are looking at potential sites.

Protesters claim the new towns - dubbed "eco towns" by the government - could have an impact on transport and jobs.

Councils will receive a share of a £10m government pot for developing their plans, which need to include provision of 5,000 homes, at least 30% of which must be affordable housing.

Environmental questions

Five authorities are looking at 10 locations for new developments at Monkton Heathfield and Corneytrowe in Taunton, Yeovil, the Lincoln area and Gainsborough, Coventry and Leeds.

Two existing proposals, at Shoreham Harbour in West Sussex and Northstowe in Cambridgeshire, could be redesigned in an effort to meet higher standards of "sustainability".

Councils in Cornwall and Sheffield are to carry out broader surveys of potential developments.

Housing Minister John Healey said the government hoped to see 10 new towns built by 2020.

He added: "The further nine areas are looking at proposals to design and develop to the tough new eco-town standards."

But some environmental groups and residents have questioned the impact on the planning system, transport links, jobs provision and environmental impact of the sites.

The plans have also been criticised by opposition groups.

Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, said: "Ministers have already conceded that eco-towns will create homes which are less green than ordinary houses built at the same time.

"This latest desperate announcement is the government simply trying to save face by throwing in existing planned developments and calling them eco-towns."

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