Stop eco towns and expand St Neots instead, says HDC

AN extension to St Neots could provide a sustainable alternative to providing a new eco-town in Cambridgeshire, the Government will be told. Huntingdonshire District Council has suggested to the Government that a sustainable urban extension to St Neots, o

AN extension to St Neots could provide a sustainable alternative to providing a new eco-town in Cambridgeshire, the Government will be told.

Huntingdonshire District Council has suggested to the Government that a sustainable urban extension to St Neots, of around 5,000 homes, with related employment opportunities and community facilities, could be brought forward with low-carbon and quality standards similar to those envisaged for eco-towns. The St Neots proposals are in line with the key directions for growth outlined in the council's emerging Core Strategy.

In order to deal with shortfalls in both market and affordable housing, Huntingdonshire is already building above the targets set for it in Regional Plans and is now promoting innovative policies and proposals to address these needs and take the District forward to 2021 and beyond, in line with its ambitious Planning and Environmental Strategies. The district council and Cambridgeshire Horizons say the advantages of the St Neots proposal are that it can be promoted quickly and the expansion would lend itself to better transport links between St Neots and other towns.

They say that with so many eco-town proposals already falling by the wayside, the partners argue that there is a real opportunity to promote deliverable and sustainable growth options like St Neots and Ely.


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Councillor Ian Bates, Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council said: "My Council has an excellent record of accepting growth but it is vital to ensure that growth is planned in way which enhances existing places. We believe our emerging and exciting proposals for St Neots have the potential to do just that if we are given the right support, especially from Central Government."

Alex Plant, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Horizons said: "We desperately need additional housing in Cambridgeshire to meet the needs of our growing population. Our shared strategy for that housing growth is to achieve the highest possible standards in terms of design quality and environmental performance, with additional community facilities and green space. We also want new developments to be in the right place, well-connected to existing urban centres and able to access jobs to match the housing, and take advantage of retail and leisure facilities to enhance the quality of life for existing and new residents.

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