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New Eco-towns may fall at the first hurdle

by Alan Harten
July 23, 2008

The governments must hyped plans for the construction of ten new eco-towns spread across the country consisting of many tens of thousands of new residencies may be in trouble before a single brick is laid.

Legal council that has been engaged by several local councils through the Local Government Association (LGA) in England have offered their opinion that the proposals are not legally valid.
The reason for this is the long help principle that such developments are drawn up by local authorities not national government. And as these councils are opposed to the plans, they are unlikely to be involved in the process.

The high powered legal team including James Strachan and John Steel QC state that there is already a policy in place for the provision of environmentally sustainable housing throughout the country that is under the control of local councils.

They claim that the only reason to introduce the new eco-towns is to side-step the existing regulations and planning policy and build the homes outside of the existing legal framework.

According to the LGA their members are no opposed in principal to the new towns as they see them as a necessary way of meeting the current and future housing shortage while at the same time fighting the threat of climate change.

However, the local authorities do take issue with the idea that the government intends to over-run the existing local planning processes and force areas to accept their plans.

Nearly all of the 15 local authorities involved are now tabling the notion of fighting the proposals in court. One problem for the councils is that it is probable that each individual council may have to fight their own individual case in separate proceedings, a costly prospect.

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