Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eco-Towns Are An Eco-Con

Eco-towns. One of Gordon's Big ideas. Thousands of new homes built in rural areas. Branded as Eco-towns as part of the spin. But what are they really? Well, remove the word 'Eco' and put in the word 'New'. There you have it. They are New Towns to be built on green fields.

Big housing developers are big business. They donate to New Labour and want something back in return - to build lots of new houses and make them even richer. 

But there just isn't the land available for big developments. Sure there's lots of land - but it's owned by the landowners for hunting and leisure - or it's green field farming land. And with the current UK planning laws, it would take years to get any off the ground. 

And just look at the demographics. They are to be built in rural Conservative areas. A cunning plan to bring in lots of grateful New Labour voters into safe Conservative held seats. 

So brand them 'Eco-friendly'. It is so, well friendly. if you want to hoodwink the public stick the word 'eco' in front . It works every time - at least it did up until now. And to make it easier these Eco-towns will fast track the planning process (there won't be any in the UK). Consultation yes but no one listens to that.

It's a masterstroke of spin. 

But there's already a backlash and from an unlikely source - the Media Classes living in their pretty villages. OK they might be NIMBYs - but the Media Class has a powerful voice and it's right. They highlight the obvious - where is the infrastructure for these New Towns - no schools, shops, hospitals and big increases in traffic . 

Try this test - annouce thousand of new homes to be built on farmland and see how that would go down! 

If you want to build homes -there's an easy answer - build on brown field sites - or refurbish and regenerate existing premises . But there's not as much money to be made out of that. 

Eco-towns? More like Eco-con.

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