Lid Dems fear eco-town response is not robust

PUBLISHED: 11:02 24 April 2009 | UPDATED: 21:45 31 May 2010

A FINAL chance to send a clear message to the government opposing the Elsenham eco-town has been missed, some councillors believe. A robust rebuttal of the 5000-home eco-town will be submitted before the consultation closes next Thursday (April 30), but

A FINAL chance to send a clear message to the government opposing the Elsenham eco-town has been missed, some councillors believe.

A "robust rebuttal" of the 5000-home eco-town will be submitted before the consultation closes next Thursday (April 30), but Liberal Democrats argued the response does not go far enough.

"This is our last chance to make our position clear," said district councillor for Elsenham and Henham David Morson. "And residents expect this council to honour the commitment it made a year ago to robustly oppose the eco-town."

At a full meeting of Uttlesford District Council on Tuesday, councillors were presented with a choice of four different rebuttals that they could submit to the eco-town consultation.

"Only one of the rebuttals - a type three response - is robust enough to get Elsenham off the government's short list," said Cllr Morson. "If we don't submit this response the government will realise we don't have a robust rebuttal and they'll put the eco-town here."

Despite appeals from the Liberal Democrats to choose the stronger of the rebuttals (known as type three), the council voted in favour of a type one rebuttal which reiterates "the council's objections that national policy statements should not seek to identify potential locations, such as north east Elsenham, as potential locations for eco-towns".

Chairman of the environment committee, Cllr Susan Barker, said that by choosing a type three response, and objecting to the eco-town on the grounds that it was not a strategic development location, would put them in a "strange position" in regards to the Local Development Framework (LDF).

In the LDF, north east Elsenham has already been selected by the council as the preferred option for the location of additional housing.

"We are very serious about objecting to eco-towns and the type one response does send a clear message to the government," said Cllr Barker.

She added that with other potential eco-town sites in the area such as Hanley Grange and Stebbing, the council should not single out Elsenham.

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