Planning Resource website
Government plans to build ten eco towns by 2020 is now a "hope" rather than a target, new housing minister Margaret Beckett has told a Commons Select Committee.
Beckett also called the government’s target of building three million homes by 2020 an “ambition”.
It is markedly different language from the defiant line taken by former housing minister Caroline Flint.
Beckett was first responding to Sunday newspaper reports that the DCLG has concluded only “one or two” of the 15 short listed projects are genuinely viable.
“We are only at the first stage of consultation. We have had a substantial response and we are continuing with the hope that we will be able to identify ten (sites) at a later stage,” she said.
When asked if government is sticking to its pledge to increase house building to 240,000 homes a year by 2016, she replied: “I think the most challenging of the targets was the three million, but that was an ambition actually, rather than a target.
“The target was the figure for 2016 and that is something we will have to see how we can address.”
The incoming minister said there were no plans “at the present time” to scrap the target.