Plea to fight eco town

PUBLISHED: 12:24 20 March 2009 | UPDATED: 21:43 31 May 2010

A DEMAND to strengthen Uttlesford District Council s opposition to the proposed 5000-home eco-town in Elsenham has been accepted by councillors. A large crowd of people from Elsenham and Henham welcomed the decision made at an emotionally charged meeting

A DEMAND to strengthen Uttlesford District Council's opposition to the proposed 5000-home eco-town in Elsenham has been accepted by councillors.

A large crowd of people from Elsenham and Henham welcomed the decision made at an emotionally charged meeting of the environment committee on Tuesday.

A resolution tabled by Cllr Catherine Dean stated that claims made by eco-town promoters, the Fairfield Partnership, had not been "submitted to rigorous scrutiny" by the council.

In a controversial speech Cllr Alan Dean claimed that the council had failed to live up to its promise, made at full council in April last year, to oppose the eco-town development.

"Rather than campaigning against this eco-town we are spending a great deal of money to try and make it work," he said. "The people of this community are seeing the democratic process not being fulfilled."

Chairman of the environment committee Cllr Susan Barker said she was "horrified" that Cllr Dean had called into question the professionalism of the council's officers.

"To suggest that they are not putting up a robust response to the eco-town is atrocious," she said.

Leader of the council Cllr Jim Ketteridge said that despite Cllr Dean's assertions, "the administration of this council remains unequivocally opposed to an eco-town of 5000 dwellings".

Cllr Ketteridge drew attention to the meetings with Government ministers Hazel Blears and Caroline Flint who were "left in no doubt about our views of having even more housing imposed upon us in the shape of an eco-town".

Leader of the Independent group Cllr Elizabeth Godwin said: "Work has been going on since April 22 to make sure that the specter of an eco-town is banished from Elsenham.

"I can assure everybody here that the council is not sitting back and letting it happen."

The environment committee resolved that a robust report rebutting the eco-town proposal would be submitted for endorsement at the full council meeting on 21 April.

DO you think the district council has done enough to oppose the eco-town? Let us know by emailing alistair.nelson@archant.co.uk

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