www.communities.gov.uk

John Healey adds Essex to the eco-town map

Published 1 April 2010

Housing and Planning Minister John Healey has today confirmed that a partnership of councils in Essex have expressed an interest using world-leading eco-town standards.

The Haven Gateway Partnership now brings the total number of local authorities and partnerships in the potential "second wave" eco-towns to 11. Mr Healey has today pledged £200,000 to help the Partnership develop proposals for new communities in Essex, which collectively could provide around 8,000 new homes, and a similar number of new jobs.

Proposals are at a very early stage and funding will be used to help identify the best locations for long term growth. Before any plans go ahead, proposals will need to meet the pioneering green standards set out in the eco-towns planning policy statement published last July, and will be subject to widespread public consultation and local planning approval. The funding will help get proposals and masterplans off the ground, introducing greener living not only for people who go on to live in the new eco-communities, but for the thousands of people already living nearby.

Housing and Planning Minister, John Healey, said:

"I welcome the proposals from the Haven Gateway Partnership and Essex County Council who are now in the eco-town second wave shortlist. Councils in this Essex partnership recognise we need to plan, design and build our homes differently in the future.

"Britain is leading the world with these new eco-town standards, which combine affordable housing with new green infrastructure and an exceptional quality of life. Today I have pledged funding to back the Haven Gateway Partnership's proposals, so they can strengthen Britain's green revolution and demonstrate the eco-town potential for mainstream developments."

The second wave of eco towns are in addition to the first four eco-town sites that John Healey announced last July, which met tough government standards. Those sites in Hampshire, Norfolk, Cornwall and Oxfordshire are currently developing revolutionary "masterplans" for local planning approval and all will see start building on site within months. Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire was the first to publish its draft masterplan for public consultation.

All proposals will have to meet the high standards of sustainability that Mr Healey set out last July. Reheated proposals will not make it through the planning process. Eco-towns must include:

  • the toughest standards for sustainability, with smart meters to track energy use, community heat sources and charging points for electric cars
  • smart, efficient, homes - at least 30 per cent of the homes must be affordable - taking their energy from the sun, wind and earth. The possibility of being able to control the heat and ventilation of their homes at the touch of a button; and sell their surplus energy into the grid
  • all homes located within ten minutes' walk of frequent public transport and everyday neighbourhood services
  • greenspace, including parks, playgrounds and gardens making up two fifths of the towns. Children will attend local zero carbon schools, making use of the paths and cycle ways
  • zero carbon developments, not just homes, including shops, restaurants and public buildings. Car journeys should make up less than half of all journeys. And all the homes will reach at least level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes - including higher standards for energy efficiency, and water efficiency. These measures, including those for recycling and waste could save a typical home £200-500 a year in energy bills

The grant of £200,000 for the Haven Gateway Partnership will fund the first set of studies into the potential for using eco-town standards in planned new developments, which could mean greener homes and developments designed and built with low-carbon living in mind.

Any eco-town development needs to be made up of at least 5,000 homes and all proposals will be subject to widespread public consultation and local planning approval before going ahead. The funding will help get proposals and masterplans off the ground, introducing greener living not only for people who go on to live in the new eco-towns, but for the thousands of people already living nearby.

Notes to editors

1. There are 11 local authorities and partnerships on the eco-town "second wave" shortlist, including the Haven Gateway Partnership - Essex area. These are:

Haven Gateway Partnership in conjunction with Essex County Council

Within the partnership area the study will look at the A120 corridor including parts of the local authority areas of Colchester, Braintree, Tendring and Essex County Council. The Haven Gateway Partnership has expressed interest in using eco-town standards for new communities in their area. The funding of £200,000 would help councils in the partnership carry out an advisory planning study to determine where new communities might be best located, to the highest standards of sustainability and design as exemplar developments. Any proposals would have to be carefully considered and then taken forward later in development plan documents prepared by the local planning authorities and providing for full public consultation, plan examination, and other testing.

Previously announced locations and growth fund allocation:

Northstowe (Cambridgeshire local authorities and Homes and Communities Agency)
The project is intended to create around 9,500 homes with up to 9,000 new jobs and benefits from over £100m of up front transport investment from the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, which will serve the new community and act as an alternative to using a car. £1.5m funding has been awarded to develop the eco-town plan. It will also fund the Northstowe Information Centre (as part of a station building on the guided busway/Park and Ride) to showcase greener living and a 'retrofitting programme' in the local area to improve the environmental performance of existing homes on the new site.

Shoreham Harbour
Today's funding award of up to £1.5m will support the Adur Core Strategy (due for consultation later in 2010) by funding studies which will help provide evidence to ensure deliverability and develop green infrastructure and renewable energy. Working with Brighton and Hove City Council, and subject to a successful planning application, the funding could also help the development of 'PortZed', an innovative 67 apartment scheme in which all electricity required for the apartments will be provided by small scale wind turbines situated between the apartment blocks including affordable housing together with commercial/retail and public space. The entire eco-quarter could eventually contain around 5,000 homes with a similar level of jobs.

Yeovil
South Somerset District Council and Somerset County Council are committed to the potential of achieving eco-town standard in an urban eco-village and an eco-extension on the edge of Yeovil. £1.5m funding will support the Council in undertaking more detailed studies, including masterplanning to eco-town standards, assessing renewable energy sources, sustainable transport options and enabling them to publish their emerging core strategy later in 2010. It also includes demonstrator funding which, subject to further discussion of details, would support a start on the urban village with an innovative 37 home scheme at The Glove Factory to illustrate the potential of wind, solar Photovoltaics (PV) and hydro power in an urban setting together with biomass distributed heating for the scheme. It would also provide an education centre and retrofitting of properties. Biodiversity would be enhanced at the site through increased planting and there would be improved links to a nearby country park. The innovative small-scale hydro power scheme would supply low energy lighting on the development and serve as an educational feature.

Taunton
Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council are proposing detailed studies of potential eco-town development at Monkton Heathfield, a development area with capacity for 5,000 homes to the North East of Taunton. It will be a self-contained community, including employment, services and community facilities, well linked to Taunton by public transport and sustainable travel option.

This additional funding of £630,000 will support development of detailed proposals for sustainable transport, renewable energy, green infrastructure in the masterplan.

Leeds (Aire Valley, York North West, North Kirklees and Bradford-Shipley Canal Corridor)
Leeds City Region has developed an Urban eco-settlement programme, with the aim of delivering Eco-towns PPS standards in four key housing growth and regeneration areas (Leeds Aire Valley, York North West, North Kirklees and Bradford-Shipley canal corridor) within the City region. Today's funding of £1.2m will enable additional work on the local plans and masterplans,, including detailed studies on energy, environmental infrastructure and transport across the 4 areas.

Demonstrator projects in York and Aire Valley will let local people see early on the benefits of eco development. An education centre and information show home at York North West will also provide a base for training in sustainable construction techniques with links to the University of York's academy.

Lincoln area and Gainsborough
City of Lincoln Council, North Kesteven District Council, West Lindsey District Council, Lincolnshire County Council wish to achieve zero carbon development that is highly adaptive to climate change and to commit to the Eco-towns PPS standards. A key focus on the future will be on urban extension development options around Lincoln and at Gainsborough. These potential urban extensions are mainly in single ownerships which would help to secure eco-town concepts and a high standard of sustainability. This funding award of up to £1.5m will support the Joint Committee in driving forward their core strategy for publication in 2011, by enabling them to undertake a detailed assessment of meeting higher environmental standards, particularly for green infrastructure and energy usage. In Gainsborough it will support a highly innovative project to retrofit existing terraced and new build housing, including the remodeling of a traditional terrace and street, by introducing greenspace and linked to a combined heat and power plant.

Dearne Valley, Sheffield City Region
The plan is to apply the principles of eco-towns to existing communities in the Dearne Valley to provide a showcase for sustainable living threading through three local authority areas - Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham. The partners are looking to create a masterplan for the Dearne Valley as a whole to provide a consistent approach to ensure that the area becomes the lowest carbon community of its type in the country within ten years. The funding awarded today £455,000 will support development of the vision for Dearne Valley in all 3 areas through detailed studies on delivering to the higher eco-town standards, as well as identifying employment and education opportunities. This will be further supported by the demonstrator project at the Ann Rhodes Community Centre at Brampton in Rotherham which will showcase new technologies in a retrofit show home.

Cornwall
Cornwall Council is supporting one of the four first wave eco-towns around St Austell and is keen to apply the eco-towns concept as it addresses the growth and housing needs of other parts of the county. The funding awarded today of up to £500,000 will test a range of options for Cornwall based on the PPS standards and also innovative solutions to delivery. This will be further supported by the Illogen Green Ripple, a community based green living project on the edge of Camborne, which aims to deliver significant carbon emission reductions, in line with the PPS, through both physical and behavioral change in areas such as transport, energy and waste.

Cranbrook
A growth point and new settlement east of Exeter will initially provide 3,500 homes by 2016 (with 40 percent of these being affordable), with the potential for further expansion to 7,500 homes. Funding of £200,000 will enable East Devon District Council to carry out further work to develop their masterplan and enable them to test the potential for higher standards and levels of growth building on the innovative approaches that they have already developed, including combined and district heat and power proposals.

Fareham
This is a new settlement of at least 7,000 homes, north of Fareham which is part of the South Hampshire growth partnership (Partnership for Urban South Hampshire). It is a priority for Fareham Borough Council who are committed to developing a sustainable development to the high standards set out in the PPS. Funding of £200,000 will enable the Council to undertake more detailed work, including green infrastructure assessments, and studies on waste, water and renewable energy.

2.  Eco-towns need to meet the pioneering green standards set out in the eco-towns planning policy statement published in July 2009. The target is to see up to ten eco-towns underway by 2020 and any proposals will need to meet the established eco-town standards of including at least 5,000 homes with innovative ideas for how jobs, schools and services are delivered in low carbon ways that will help the UK respond to climate change.

3. The second wave of eco towns are in addition to the four sites announced in July 2009, which met tough government standards. Those sites in Hampshire, Norfolk, Cornwall and Oxfordshire are currently developing revolutionary 'masterplans' for local planning approval. Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire was the first to publish its draft masterplan for public consultation in November 2009. All proposals will have to meet the high standards of sustainability that we set out in July. Reheated or 'greenwashed' proposals will not make it through the planning process. All locations have submitted promising ideas so far for meeting these standards.

4. The £10m (originally announced in December 2009) has been granted across the second wave sites to develop plans and introduce greener living not only for people who go on to live in the new eco-towns, but for the thousands of people already living nearby. Construction of demonstrator projects and 'eco show homes' could also potentially create and support local jobs, including apprenticeships to help advance new green building skills.

5. The funding will also go towards studies in how to improve existing transport links, including options such as rapid routes for buses with real-time travel information, green travel hubs and facilities for electric cars and bikes. Pioneering new energy projects will be set up so that residents take their energy from natural sources. The cash will also provide funding for further studies to see whether the locations can match up to the standards expected in the eco-towns PPS.

6. Possible second wave bids are still at an early stage and will be subject to further, widespread consultation on proposals, before public consultation and local planning approval.

Twitter

Keep up to date with the Department by following us on Twitter (external link).

Media enquiries

Visit our newsroom contacts page for media enquiry contact details.

You may also be interested in …

On this site

My favourites