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Eco-town proposal causes dismay

9 November 07 11:06 GMT

Plans for an eco-town in rural Leicestershire have provoked an angry reaction from politicians.

The Co-op and English Partnerships are bidding to create about 20,000 homes with services on land between Houghton on the Hill, Oadby and Great Glen.

The government wants to build 10 carbon-neutral, self-contained towns around the country.

Councillors condemned the plans as a threat to the countryside but the Co-op said plans were at an early stage.

The government's basic blueprint calls for the settlements to be self-contained for shops and services, with most residents working locally.

Consultation process

They must also have adequate road and rail links and most energy would be produced locally.

But local county councillor Dr Kevin Feltham is sceptical about the plan's green credentials

"If 80,000 people live here, how are they going to get to work? Probably by car. What will the cars run on? Probably carbon fuels.

"These eco-towns are a nice idea but have the practicalities of carbon neutral developments really been thought out?"

County Councillor Simon Galton emphasised the potential impact on the local area: "This is going to absolutely devastate the local countryside.

"Because - although it says it is going to be an eco town - at the end of the day it is going to involve huge amounts of concrete and tarmac over the countryside."

The Co-op, which owns much of the land concerned, said the plans would be submitted to the government and, if short-listed, there would be a full public consultation.

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