The building of four new towns in England (housing being one of those aspects of policy devolved to the Welsh assembly government who are probably concocting some more crazy schemes like sprinklers in residential properties instead of schemes like this) at or near Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire, St Austell in Cornwall, Rackheath in Norfolk and North West Bicester in Oxfordshire is a strange concept when you think about it. New towns have long been the butt of much humour – you only need to think of Milton Keynes and a whole plethora of jokes follow (What is the difference between a yoghurt and Milton Keynes? Yoghurt has culture. – admittedly not very good jokes)… populate them with the concerned eco-warrior types who will be attracted to these places and add a sprinkle of politics and I think we have the recipe for a whole new range of (not very good) jokes.
Putting aside my cynicism (believe me it’s hard) these seem like worthy and worthwhile developments – so long as true eco credentials can be established and renewability and sustainability not merely paid lip service to then these new towns may well form beacons of good eco-housing practice and catalysts for change in the wider community.
I must admit my first thought was ‘glad they’re not on my doorstep’ , but then I’ve had a bloody big gas pipeline on mine since 2007 so feel that I’ve done my bit in regard to what’s on and not on my doorstep!