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Housing situation in England…
• The credit crunch means that home ownership remains out of reach for many, largely because it is getting harder to secure mortgages • The rate of house building has not kept pace with rapidly increasing demand, this has led to steep house price rises. • Over the last ten years, the cost of the average home in England has tripled to more than £200,000. This has left most first-time buyers priced out of the market. • There is no longer enough social housing for those who need it most. • People are struggling to meet housing costs and, in some cases, are at severe risk of homelessness
Eco Towns… a potential solution?
The housing minister, Caroline Flint, said the new towns would help to tackle climate change, as well as providing affordable new housing. "We have a housing shortage in this country and that's why we need to build more homes," she told BBC News 24."But we also need to think about sustainable homes in sustainable communities.“
The largest will provide between 15,000 and 20,000 new homes, with officials saying the towns should be "zerocarbon" developments and should be exemplary in one area of sustainability, such as energy production or waste disposal.
They also want 30% to 40% of each eco-town to be allocated as affordable housing.
So what’s the problem…?
There are concerns among environmental campaigners that most of the proposed eco-towns will increase car pollution because they will not be big or diverse enough to sustain viable public transport. "I'm afraid there are several on this list which will cause immediate concern to local people because they're being built on green fields,"
Pennbury Eco Town, SE Leicester
• http://www.y outube.com/ watch?v=w2 -2RtFqXfc
• The proposed eco-town would be sited to the south-east of Leicester, in Harborough District, lying between Evington, Thurnby, Houghtononthe-Hill, Great Glen and Oadby. It would include land currently used for Leicester Airport.
• There are around 13,600 households on council housing waiting lists in the three districts adjacent to Pennbury, and there aren’t enough affordable homes available. • Since 1999/2000, Harborough, Oadby and Wigston, and Leicester have lost almost 4,500 social rented homes through demolition and the Right to Buy, but only 1,250 new social rented homes have been provided. • Current building rates in Leicestershire mean that there are over 500 fewer homes built per year to meet the new planned target
Pennbury: The Problems
• Concerns expressed have included increased traffic, carbon emissions and environmental damage, an influx of people into an area with low unemployment, pressure on the capacity of schools, and increased risk of flooding.
• Looking at 2011–2016, when it is anticipated that Pennbury would begin to be constructed, the identified land for further development in 2007 would not be sufficient to build enough housing to achieve planned targets, or to meet the backlog of need in the county. Additional housing will have to come from other sources yet to be identified.
However, further land is needed to cater for housing requirements in Leicestershire, and it is unavoidable that some greenfield sites will have to be considered as fewer brownfield sites remain. The Pennbury site is not entirely greenfield, since it includes Leicester Airport and the former Stoughton Farm Park.
Who are the stakeholders AGAINST the eco town?
Houghton on the Hill Primary School students: build houses on countryside, traffic on the road, ruin the environment and wildlife Estate Agent: detrimental to the area – he doesn’t think the area could support 15,000 new houses – sells properties on the ‘picturesque environment’
Local migrants – moved from the city – enjoys cycling in the countryside, you can’t replace the natural countryside, young children like to play in the fields
Arguments FOR the Eco Town?
It will provide efficient economic and environmentally friendly houses. Local Residents – it means more people will be able to buy their own house and grow their own vegetables, better transport links and facilities. Economic Consultant – social housing for young local people Representative from the co-op group: different way of living, better public transport provision, work within the well connected community, improve wider areas.