Government wins first eco-town challenge

A campaign group has failed in its High Court challenge to the government’s eco-towns programme

Better Accessible Responsible Development (BARD) opposes proposals for an eco-town at Long Marston in Warwickshire, also known as Middle Quinton. At least 6,000 homes are proposed on the former Ministry of Defence site.

BARD applied for judicial review on the grounds that the government’s eco-towns consultation was flawed.

However, Mr Justice Walker found that the 2007 housing Green Paper and the accompanying “Eco-towns Prospectus” gave enough information on the proposals and made it clear that the criteria they would be assessed against would be subject to consultation.

BARD also claimed that the eco-towns process was an attempt to outflank the planning system. Mr Justice Walker judged that the publication of a planning policy statement on eco-towns meant that the government was “using, not outflanking, the planning system”.

David Bliss, chairman of the BARD Campaign, said: “We are disappointed, but this is by no means the end of the road for BARD’s challenges to the Middle Quinton proposal.”

The Communities Department (DCLG) is currently consulting on the draft planning policy for eco-towns.

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