Thirteen councils fight eco-town plans

A UNITED front has been presented in opposition to a new 8000-home eco-town that would devastate the way of life in many rural villages. South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley called a meeting on Tuesday night at Whittlesford Memorial Hall, of all the p

A UNITED front has been presented in opposition to a new 8000-home eco-town that would "devastate" the way of life in many rural villages.

South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley called a meeting on Tuesday night at Whittlesford Memorial Hall, of all the parish councils that would be affected by the Hanley Grange development.

"The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that, at every level, we are united in our fight against this eco-town," said Mr Lansley.

Hanley Grange near Hinxton, South Cambridgeshire, has been named as one of the Government's 15 possible sites for green housing developments to be built across the country.


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The invitational meeting involved representatives from 13 parish councils in South Cambridgeshire as well as a number of district councillors and two MPs.

South East Cambridgeshire MP James Paice said: "The unanimity was astonishing - we were all in agreement that this is the wrong settlement in the wrong place and must be opposed at all costs.

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"The three immediate villages of Hinxton, Pampisford, and Abington would be completely absorbed into the new development. And further afield, Chesterford, Duxford and Sawston would be seriously damaged.

"The likely involvement of a major supermarket would devastate villages by finishing off local shops."

A spokesman from each of the parish councils expressed their views at the lively meeting of almost 50 people.

"A development to the south of Cambridgeshire will appeal to people who want to work in London," said Mr Paice. "It would create a road and rail-dependent community that is not environmentally friendly.

"We do not meet the criteria for an eco-town."

The Government's decision to select Hanley Grange as a possible site for an eco-town is based on the high demand for housing in the area and the jobs available at the four science parks in Great Chesterford, Babraham, Hinxton and Great Abington.

However Mr Lansley acknowledges the need for more housing and said they are meeting this with the current 9000-home development at Northstowe. He added: "The young people who work at the science parks want to live in Cambridge and will commute in."

It was decided to form a joint action group of all the parish councils which will meet on Wednesday May 7. Working groups have also been established to find evidence to show Hanley Grange is an unsuitable site.

"This is not an emotional argument," said Mr Paice.

"We need to put the facts to the government.

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