Response - Ecotown Planning Policy Statement

By: Michala Beacham  Published: April 2009


Shelter supports the eco-town concept as one of a range of approaches to addressing two critical issues facing this country: the desperate need for new housing, specifically affordable housing, and the challenge of climate change.

Summary

By establishing comprehensive and significantly higher standards for development, eco-towns provide the opportunity to be exemplars of social and environmental sustainability that can help shape all new development in the future. This submission builds on our responses to previous eco-town consultation processes, in particular our submission in July 2008 on the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (CLG) Eco-towns – living a greener future consultation, and statements by the eco-town coalition, of which Shelter is a member.

The draft eco-town PPS establishes both strategic and specific standards that eco-town developments will need to meet. These standards sit alongside or expand on, rather than replace, guidance in existing planning policy statements. Shelter’s primary interest, and expertise, is the provision of affordable housing within the context of mixed, sustainable communities. As such our comments focus on the aspects of the draft PPS relating to housing, and elements of the physical and social infrastructure required to build a sustainable community. The focus of our response is not, however, intended to diminish the importance of all aspects of the draft PPS, especially those relating to the environmental credentials that eco-towns will need to meet.

In addition to commenting on the draft PPS, we will be providing feedback on some of the proposed eco-town proposals that Shelter supports in principle. Our support for particular development proposals is based largely on the affordable housing offer, and the extent to which they will provide suitable social infrastructure and economic opportunities for residents and the surrounding areas. This support is conditional on a number of issues being resolved if the proposals are progressed, such as transport constraints or the potential for negative impacts on the environment.

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