Eco-town decision is a "victory for people power"

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has welcomed the Government’s decision to leave Ford off the final shortlist of eco-towns, describing it as a “victory for people power”.

The Government announced today (16 July) the locations of four eco-towns that will proceed to the next stage, but confirmed that Ford had failed to demonstrate ‘the potential to meet the sustainability and deliverability requirements for successful development as an eco-town'.

The proposal to build at least 5,000 houses on the greenfield site at Ford met with overwhelming opposition from local residents, councils, businesses and MPs when the original shortlist of 15 sites was published in April last year.

Since then, local campaigners from Communities Against Ford Eco-Town (CAFE) have fought hard to resist the proposals.  In October, CAFE delivered a petition signed by 10,000 people to Number 10 Downing Street and were joined by local MPs Nick Herbert and Nick Gibb (Bognor Regis and Littlehampton).

Nick Herbert commented: "It's a victory for people power, the local community and common sense that Ford isn't on the shortlist.  It never made sense to build a new town in this part of rural West Sussex against local wishes and it was wrong to try and usurp the local planning process."

Mr Herbert added: "I congratulate CAFE on their brilliant and successful campaign.  But the Government must clarify whether their 'offer' of taking forward a second wave of eco-towns includes Ford and, if it does, whether it's genuinely an offer or a threat.  If Arun District Council continues to oppose an eco-town at Ford then the Government must admit clearly and openly that the scheme is now dead in the water."

Ends

 

Notes for Editors

1. The four chosen locations are Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire, St Austell (China Clay) in Cornwall, Rackheath in Norfolk and North West Bicester in Oxfordshire.

2. For a copy of the news release from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/1284621.

3. For the website of Communities Against Ford Eco-Town (CAFE), visit http://www.nofordecotown.com/.

4. For the campaign blog, visit http://www.nofordecotown.blogspot.com/.

5. CAFE can be contacted at PO Box 123, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 8BF, telephone 07721 300330 or e-mail campaign@nofordecotown.com. Its Patron is the Duke of Norfolk.

Ed Barker