Tue, 29 May 07
Eco towns are set to be very popular with struggling first time buyers (FTBs)...
Admittedly, it sounds too good to be true: 100K new low cost homes, all 'eco friendly' - wind and solar powered, specifically for first time buyers, on brownfield sites, excellent transport links, with state of the art schools and health centres...
Every box has been suspiciously ticked by this development initiative; we await confirmation of the full details before commenting further.
However, it's fair to say that a priced out generation could be forgiven for believing the announcement is a marketing stunt and a very callous one at that given it is very unlikely to progress beyond the rhetoric...
When Gordon Brown said he wanted to build a new Britain as he launched his Labour leadership bid, it sounded like standard rhetoric and hardly set the world alight. But it turns out that he meant it literally.
Homes will be powered by solar and wind power
This week the Chancellor will unveil plans to construct five new "eco-towns" for up to 100,000 families in environmentally-friendly surroundings.
The first will be located on Ministry of Defence land at the former Oakington Barracks in Cambridgeshire, which has recently been used to house asylum seekers.
It will feature 10,000 homes powered entirely by solar and wind power. Other councils are being invited to bid for the right to host the remaining settlements.
The proposals have been drawn up by Yvette Cooper, the housing minister and a key member of Mr Brown's inner circle.
The Chancellor will argue that the homes offer a chance for struggling first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder.
Zero carbon standards
The eco-towns are described as larger versions of Prince Charles' Poundbury estate in Dorset. They will be constructed primarily on brownfield land, with Mr Brown keen to show he is not concreting the countryside.
The homes will be exempt from stamp duty because they will be built, apparently, to zero-carbon standards.
Mr Brown will pledge that they will have public transport links and state-of-the-art zero-carbon schools and health centres.
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