Monday, 23 June 2008

Setback for Brown 'eco-town' plan

Gordon Brown's "eco-towns" policy has suffered a setback after a report said some schemes were not much better than housing estates with green edges added. Click for more...

DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE or Read the FORD extract below...

The proposal’s strength of vision is commended; however, the relationship with separate bid for an enterprise hub needs further explanation. The bid’s breadth of thinking is commended, as is the clear understanding that an eco-town should set an example for sustainable living.

The site is challenging and the scheme needs to impact positively on issues that are currently affecting Arun, namely social deprivation, unemployment, an elderly population and a lack of social cohesion.

The concept develops the features and infrastructure of the site relatively well, adding a mixed-use employment core, an education campus, an energy centre next to the existing recycling plant and relocating the rail station. Explore why businesses would be attracted to the area and explain how high calibre jobs will be pursued using the eco-towns brand.

Inevitably there will be some commuting to London, especially given the town’s potential to become part of Thameslink, as development here could lead to its reintroduction to the programme. Demonstrate how commuting off site will be minimised in this proposal. Funding the proposed A27 Arundel bypass should be abandoned, as it is not consistent with sustainable principles. Consider a radically different approach to transport, potentially using Personal Rapid Transit as demonstrated by the Ultra scheme under construction at Heathrow. The Parkway, promoted by the enterprise hub bid, may not be sustainable in
a world where oil prices continue to rise. Provide more information on the public realm and examine how to create travel behaviour change especially related to workplace travel planning and cycling.

Use the green space strategy as a starting point for the masterplan; the proposed network of green spaces, neighbourhood allotments, wetland habitat and the reintroduction of the canal could be instrumental to creating an identity for the area.

The ambition to create Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 housing is praised. It is encouraging that the breadth of areas to be addressed is understood and that there are some numbers available. The proposal should set targets for carbon emissions for all building types on the site as well as interrogating both design and construction techniques to demonstrate how this will be achieved.

Establish how the proposed measures of success for the development, ie exporting energy, zero-waste off site, and net water use, will be achieved. Calculate the potential energy demand and how much energy in kWH can be generated through the proposed anaerobic digestion of waste.

Explore further the potential for local food production. Investigate linking this sustainable enterprise with schools and colleges in the area. The lifestyle emphasis of the proposal is impressive, although evidence of local support for the scheme is needed. Produce a road map to 2020 and a ‘day in the life’ of a habitant to focus on the behaviour change that will be needed to deliver a successful project. Look at the composition of the community, in particular the role of teenagers in the development.

Demonstrate how the procurement and design ambitions of the project will be realised and describe how it will manage possible future growth. Propose how high standards will be maintained and detail assurances for the delivery of the town.

1 comment:

keithc said...

... "The lifestyle emphasis of the proposal is impressive, although evidence of local support for the scheme is needed.".....

That could prove to be difficult!