Eco towns official list

The short list for the Eco towns came out this week and will be wittled down from the 15 seen below to just 10 in six months time. Some proposals are looking to locate on old MoD land such as airfields or, on old colliery land. Some involve the use of greenbelt.

* 5,000 homes on the brownfield site of the former Fradley airfield, ten miles from Burton. The proposal could include 2,000 affordable houses in an area of very high affordability pressure.

* Middle Quinton, Warwickshire: 6,000 homes on a former Royal Engineers depot which has a rail link to the Worcester-London rail line. Six miles South West of Stratford upon Avon. The proposal could include 2,000 affordable houses in an area of very high affordability pressure.

* Weston Otmoor, Oxfordshire: 10-15,000 homes on a site adjoining the M40 and the Oxford-Bicester railway. Three miles south west of Bicester, the site includes a current airstrip. The scheme could include between 3,000 and 5,000 affordable homes, in an area of extreme affordability pressure.

* Ford, West Sussex: 5,000 homes on a site which includes brownfield land and the former Ford airfield. Close to rail line linking London and the Sussex coast. The scheme could include 1,500 affordable homes, in an area of very high affordability pressure.

* Imerys China Clay Community, Cornwall: Development of around 5,000 homes on former china clay workings, industrial land and disused mining pits no longer needed by owner Imerys. Close to St Austell. The scheme could include 1,500 affordable homes, in an area of extreme affordability pressure.

* Rossington, South Yorkshire: Up to 15,000 homes regenerating the former colliery village of Rossington, three miles south of Doncaster. The scheme could include 1,500 affordable homes, in an area of moderate affordability pressure.

* Coltishall, Norfolk: 5,000 homes on a former RAF airfield, eight miles north of Norwich. The scheme could include 2,000 affordable homes in an area of very high affordability pressure.

* Hanley Grange, Cambridgeshire: 8,000 homes on land adjacent to the A11 designed to improve the severe lack of housing in and around Cambridge. The scheme could include 3,000 affordable homes in an area of extreme affordability pressure.

image: BBC

* Marston Vale and New Marston, Bedfordshire: Up to 15,400 homes on a series of sites, including former industrial sites, along the east-west rail line to Stewartby and Millbrook. The scheme could include 2,000 affordable homes in an area of high affordability pressure.

* Elsenham, Essex: A minimum of 5,000 homes north east of the existing Elsenham village. Close to M11 and the London to Cambridge rail line. The scheme could include 1,800 affordable homes in an area of extreme affordability pressure.

* Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire: An eco-town proposal was submitted for Kingston-on-Soar, to the south of Nottingham. In response to representations from Rushcliffe Borough Council, this site is not to be pursued. However, the Government is proposing to carry out a further review in partnership with RBC to consider whether there is a suitable alternative location with the potential to be viable within the Rushcliffe local authority area.

* Leeds City Region, Yorkshire: A number of eco-town proposals were submitted for locations within the area of Leeds City Region partnership of 11 authorities and principally between Leeds and Selby. The Leeds City Region Partnership has indicated support in principle for an eco-town within the sub-region. The Partnership has proposed a further study to compare the best alternative locations across the Leeds City Region partnership area. The Government has agreed to support this approach, on the basis that it will allow a further announcement to be made shortly of one or more sites for consultation.

* Pennbury, Leicestershire: 12-15,000 homes on a development incorporating brownfield, greenfield and surplus public sector land. Four miles south east of Leicester. This proposal could include 4,000 new affordable houses in an area of high affordability pressure.

* Manby and Strubby, Lincolnshire: 5,000 homes put forward by East Lindsey District Council on two sites, with large elements of brownfield land including a former RAF base. The proposal complements the strategic plan for the phased relocation of communities on Lincolnshire coast because of high flood risk, and could include 1,500 affordable homes in an area of very high affordability pressure.

* Bordon-Whitehill, Hampshire: 5-8,000 homes on a site owned by the Ministry of Defence. A significant number of ex-MoD homes are already on the site, west of Whitehill-Bordon. The proposal could include 2,000 affordable houses in an area of very high affordability pressure.


This Prospectus sets out the Government’s vision for eco-towns, including the support to take them forward.

NB. There has been a lot of interest in the UK’s first so-called eco village at Hanham Hall near Bristol being developed by Barratts.


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19 Responses to Eco towns official list

  1. Pete Smith says:

    For discussion of the eco-town shortlist, information on developers, and links to documents about the consultation process, see

  2. matt says:

    Yes we know it’s your baby Pete. 🙂 And from what I remember you’ve been quite negative about the whole idea.

  3. Pete Smith says:

    I’m negative about a few aspects of the eco-town initiative, not the whole idea. If we need more houses, in certain circumstances it’s better to build a complete new town rather than relying on infill. If we need new towns, they should of course be designed for sustainability, energy efficiency, sympathetic treatment of natural areas and wildlife, public transport, cycle paths, etc etc.
    I’m less keen on the way that the ‘eco-town’ label has been used to tart up and recycle old projects. There’s a danger that legitimate local opposition may be undermined by the fact that these projects come with a high-profile and a government ‘seal of appproval’. If you oppose the town you are by implication opposing the ‘eco’ idea as well, which is close to heresy in these enlightened times.
    It’s clear from the hits we’ve been seeing at Change Alley that people are desperate for information about their local eco-town. It shocks me how badly this has been managed, with information being slowly drip-fed if it’s available at all. Some sites have well-developed protest groups, others son’t even know the developer’s name, let alone what they want to do.

  4. matt says:

    I’ve also noticed various links to information are getting pulled. I wonder why that is.

    Yes I agree that the eco label must not be abused so that any of these housing proposals end up being far from eco and then locals find themselves branded as luddites for opposing ‘environmental’ proposals.

    Still I think things really start to heat up once the planning process kicks in, which isn’t for at least 6 months, after they whittle the 15 down to 10.

    There is a lot of interest out there for these developments and understandably so; it’s the full range of people, from potential neighbours that will be impacted, to environmentalists, to house buyers.
    There has been a lot of interest in the UK’s first so-called eco village at Hanham Hall near Bristol being developed by Barratts.

  5. Pete Smith says:

    Some high profile campaigns are in full swing already, e.g. Tim Henman’s father lives near the Weston Otmoor development.

  6. matt says:

    Oh yes of course, these people have their cosy idylls within their homes already. They wouldn’t want that shattered by others enjoying the same through new housing developments.

  7. Pete Smith says:

    “They wouldn’t want that shattered by others enjoying the same”
    But, by definition, it wouldn’t be the same. If it were, what would be the point of protesting?

  8. matt says:

    OK, I’ll be more direct; nimby-ism rules in this country to the point where people’s selfish tendancies out shine their community spirit and in this case people will protest against a new housing development opening up on their door step. It’s human nature and it’s called selfishness.

    I’m much more interested in seeing more housing built. If it’s an eco development even better, but that remains to be seen and that is the point this site will be concentrating on, whether the proposals are eco or not, rather than banging on about the nimby effect. That bit is predictable enough and really not interesting.

    We won’t know whether the proposals are very eco in focus until the details are scrutinized under planning law. The whittling down of current proposals will concentrate on viability regards financing, land availability, number of homes offered and infrastructure.

    So anyway, in six months time the real scrutiny and discussion can begin. Of course if anyone out there has any inside knowledge on one of the proposals and particularly the eco aspects, The Coffee House is happy to publish those findings. 🙂

  9. Pete Smith says:

    I think it’s extraordinary to rubbish people’s sense of place like that. It’s that same attachment to their home territory that fosters all kinds of good, unselfish things, like volunteering for conservation work, joining the resident’s association or neighbourhood watch, becoming a Friend of the local park or nature reserve.
    This is still theoretically a free-ish country, and if people don’t like what’s happening to their home patch they should be encouraged to fight it in any way they see fit.

  10. matt says:

    I think it’s extraordinary to be so negative about providing people new homes. The lack of housing in this country today is a scandal, one that this Labour govt will fall for in the next election. Period.

  11. Pete Smith says:

    “nimby-ism rules in this country to the point where people’s selfish tendancies out shine their community spirit”
    Which just shows you don’t understand the idea of community. A village of 1000 people is a community, and the inhabitants of the 5000 houses built on its doorstep are not members of it, although as the years go by some of them might possibly become so.
    What on earth do you expect people to do, roll over and play dead?

  12. matt says:

    Pete, this is a typical response to change. The Nationalist Front didn’t like it when black people started entering their ‘communities’ either. You shouldn’t get so worked up Pete, it’s not good for your health. They’re only houses.

  13. keithsc says:

    It’s a really difficult one this. More housing is definitely needed as the population grows and more people settle in the south east of the country. Many do not want to live in the cities so we need more homes in the countryside. How do we do this without environmental and social damage? Not easily and perhaps it is impossible. Putting them near an established community will create tensions and change the nature of the existing community. But this can be a positive as well as a negative development. Villages of 1,000 can be a great community or they can be full of second homes with no local shops or pubs.

  14. matt says:

    Interestingly as you mention the south-east there Keith, at least these proposals only involve one in the south-east with the rest spread around the country.

    The ‘community’ word is so emotive. Everyone claims to own it, know it, protect it. In doing so they have to be careful not to exclude others, or to frame ‘others’ as ‘outsiders’.

    As I’ve said above I’m interested in the so-called ‘eco’ aspects of these proposals, not whether more homes should be built or not. This must happen because this government’s biggest failure has been in the severe lack of house building over the last 10 years.

  15. Pete Smith says:

    Keith, absolutely agree that if done properly new development close to existing settlements can benefit everyone, but it has to be done sensitively and preferably driven by locals rather than parachuted in by faceless bureaucracy. New young families in affordable housing will help to keep schools, shops and pubs open. The key thing is keeping development at an appropriately small scale, so that incomers won’t be seen to be swamping the current inhabitants.

  16. matt says:

    Yes, I do accept that the scale of some of these proposed developments could be an issue.

  17. The Weston Otmoor eco-town will only be viable if half the residents change their travel habits and use public transport. This is a modal shift from 70% to 20% by car. The suggested peak charge of £200 to enforce this is so absurd that it hard to imagine who will want to live there. See Weston Front for more information.

  18. matt says:

    Or the ‘Tory’ Front. Weston Front has had Tory backing this week. John has plucked the £200 charge out of the air as a desperate measure to counter the building of more homes. Shame the debate hasn’t been more constructive. 🙂

  19. Pete Smith says:

    At the risk of repeating a similar discussion in another thread, I have tried and tried to find any evidence to support this claim that there will be a peak toll of £200. It would be so helpful to have a link to a document; there’s certainly nothing in the developers’ proposal.
    This obsession with the car is so childish, use public transport, cycle or even walk. Better yet, just for once ask yourself “is my journey really necessary?”
    And after all, as you say John, if people don’t care for the transport arrangements they won’t go to live there. Instant ghost town.

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