Campaigners slam eco-town consultation delay

PUBLISHED: 10:23 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:09 10 May 2010

Anti-Development betweeen Henham and Elsenham.

Anti-Development betweeen Henham and Elsenham.

CAMPAIGNERS who are fighting plans to have a 5000-home eco-town built on their doorstep have been angered by the latest delay in the Government s consultation. The Joint Parish Council Steering Group (JPCSG) is battling to have the Elsenham site removed f

CAMPAIGNERS who are fighting plans to have a 5000-home eco-town built on their doorstep have been angered by the latest delay in the Government's consultation.

The Joint Parish Council Steering Group (JPCSG) is battling to have the Elsenham site removed from the eco-town shortlist.

Chairman of the group, Nick Baker, said: "Slippage in the timetable is unhelpful - it just goes on and on and on.

"The decision hangs over our heads and people who want to move in or out of the area are blighted."

The Department for Communities and Local Government's (DCLG's) eco-town consultation was due to end on Friday (March 6), but this week it was announced that it would be extended by two months.

The JPCSG is made up of representatives from the parishes of Elsenham, Henham, Stansted, Newport and Ugley and has drummed up considerable support.

"There were 1400 objections from this area in the last consultation and I expect a similar response to this one," said Mr Baker. "It is a very emotive issue and we want the Government to take notice."

There are 11 sites on the Government's eco-town shortlist, but this will be whittled down after the consultation ends on the new date of April 30. A decision is expected sometime in the summer.

Housing minister Margaret Beckett said: "Eco-towns present a superb opportunity to provide more affordable housing which is built to the UK's toughest ever green standards, and we cannot afford to miss it. But it is vital we identify the right locations for these eco-towns and I will not support any proposal that our assessment and consultation concludes is unsuitable.

"I know this is an issue that raises a lot of strong opinion on all sides. I have extended the deadline to ensure that all parties, irrespective of their views, are given the full opportunity to have their say, and I urge everyone to respond to this consultation."

Scheme backers the Fairfield Partnership control more than 250 acres of land to the north east of Elsenham. The plans are for a carbon neutral development of at least 5000 houses.

To respond to the consultation visit http://ecotownsyoursay.direct.gov.uk/

For more information about the JPCSG visit www.saveourvillage.co.uk


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