Wednesday 25 June 2008

More on Eco-Towns "2".

Recently the Government published the Challenge Panel's first report of their deliberations with the developers. In this the Panel went briefly through each of the proposed Eco-Towns and set out a challenging list of issues that any proposal will have to meet in order to become a viable proposition.

Have they been reading my blog?

The Challenge Panel's report recommends some very interesting requirements, at least a couple of which align closely with the needs I have laid out on this blog!

One test that I have proposed is that Ford Eco-Town should so radically reduce the need to travel that it would remove the need for an Arundel bypass. This demand is in direct opposition to both the proposers and the opposers of the Ford Eco-Town. The Challenge Panel, however, have also said that the proposal should "consider a radically different approach to transport" and that "funding the proposed A27 Arundel bypass should be abandoned as it is not consistent with sustainable principles".

The guidelines for Eco-Town development are generally light on requirements for improving the environment, and enhancing the natural environment receives little attention. To be fair the Eco-town proposers for Ford have talked about building ecological networks through the development, including a major area of wetland creation. Nevertheless, the Panel's report stresses that the proposal should "use the green space strategy as a starting point for the masterplan; the proposed network of green spaces, neighbourhood allotments, wetland habitat and the introduction of the canal could be instrumental to creating an identity for the area".

So - a better approach to transport and making the natural environment of a proposal a more leading theme. This is good stuff, but I am still concerned about whether Ford, located as it is in one of the few green gaps along the highly built up coastline of West Sussex, is fundamentally the right location for a major new development.

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