23/07/2009

Eco town con for Bordon and Norwich

The ECO TOWN con...The financing of the DTR (defence training review) site has been rocked by the shaky economy. The Metrix led consortium had planned to fund the project through the sale of surplus MoD land but with the housing market hitting rock bottom, predicted revenues are now substantially less than first believed. Rising inflation has led to a ballooning of costs to £12bn.


The government hoped to make millions from selling Ministry of Defence land for eco-towns - The truth behind Gordon Brown's flagship eco-town policy to raise millions from the schemes while watering down their green credentials. The Treasury stands to make about £275million through land sales, because six out of the 15 shortlisted sites are on property either sold or earmarked for sale by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Critics claim the Government is forcing the unpopular eco-towns on the public to make more money from the land and say the process by which the final locations are to be selected is flawed, because ministers will have a vested interest in choosing the MoD sites. Full articles below...


The credit crunch scuppered that plan but still they struggle on and find more subsidies for Metrix ..

Now we have Camp and Airfield Among Named Eco-Town Sites

The locations of 4 new "eco-towns" have been announced as part of scaled-down Government plans. They are Rackheath, Norfolk; north west Bicester, Oxfordshire; Whitehill Bordon, East Hants; and the China Clay Community near St Austell, Cornwall.

RAF Rackheath was constructed in 1943 for the United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force. It closed in 1945 and the airfield site was returned to farming. Bordon was first laid out in 1899 by the Highland Light Infantry. The first occupants of Quebec Barracks were the Somersetshire Light Infantry, returning from South Africa in April 1903, and the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment arrived at St. Lucia Barracks from South Africa in June 1903. Bordon Camp was home to the Canadian Army during both world wars. Bordon is currently home to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, providing trade training. MoD has decided to relocate Armed Forces training from Whitehill Bordon to St Athan in 2011.

THE former RAF Newton site has been 'eliminated' from the Government's list of eco-towns, it has been confirmed. The four successful bids announced in the House of Commons this morning were for Whitehill-Bordon, in Hampshire; China Clay Community, in St Austell, Cornwall; North Bicester, in Oxfordshire; and Rackheath, in Norwich.

How Ben Fogle helped save his village from becoming an eco-town
Telegraph.co.uk - Ben Fogle - ‎Jul 18, 2009‎
Now that the soldiers had a captain, a campaign action group was formed, called Cafe (Communities against Ford Eco-town). To help cover costs,

Nothing will stop us now

CELEBRATION TIME: East Hampshire District Council leader Ferris Cowper following the Government’s announcement. Published Date:22 July 2009 By Mary Bishop
Supporters of the eco-town plans for Bordon and Whitehill have vowed to make sure the project pushes forward, despite fears that delays in the Army moving training facilities out of the town could cause a stumbling block in their progress.

East Hampshire District Council and other agencies and groups working on the plans were celebrating the Government's announcement last Thursday that the town would become one of the first eco-towns in the country, meaning their green dreams have taken a giant step closer to becoming reality...
However, one stumbling block still to be removed is when the Ministry of Defence will move training facilities from Bordon to South Wales under the Metrix Consortium plans to create a new technical training college....

Following last week's eco-town announcement, rumours started circulating that further delays to the Metrix project could cause problems for the Bordon and Whitehill plans, which rely on the release of the vacated MoD land.

But a government minister told the Bordon Post this week that the Metrix deal is on track and is expected to be signed next summer. The minister for the Armed Forces, Bill Rammell, told the Post: "The MoD remains committed to the Defence Training Review (DTR) and a great deal of progress has already been made."... no mention of the unafforability of the project..which has still to get planning permission.

Speaking about what will happen once the contracts have been signed he added: "After this point, the School of Electro-Mechanical Engineering (SEME) in Bordon will transfer to the MoD St Athan site in Wales.

"However, until the final contracts are signed, it would not be sensible to make the site available to become an eco-town." In his statement he also confirmed that training at Bordon would not move completely until after at least 2014....

The bid for eco-town status has been led by East Hampshire District Council and the Whitehill and Bordon Opportunity Executive Group.

Council leader Ferris Cowper welcomed last week's announcement by the Government and stressed that any delays to MoD training facilities moving out of the town would not slow down the development of the eco-town plans...............

What has Privatising military training got do with eco towns?


The financing of the DTR (defence training review) site has been rocked by the shaky economy. The Metrix led consortium had planned to fund the project through the sale of surplus MoD land but with the housing market hitting rock bottom, predicted revenues are now substantially less than first believed. Rising inflation has led to a ballooning of costs to £12bn. (1)


There was an article in the telegraph in June Government in line to make millions from selling Ministry of Defence land for eco-towns By Vikki Miller and Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor 29/06/2008 “The truth behind Gordon Brown's flagship eco-town policy can be disclosed, with the Government set to raise millions from the schemes while watering down their green credentials. The Sunday Telegraph can report that the Treasury stands to make about £275million through land sales, because six out of the 15 shortlisted sites are on property either sold or earmarked for sale by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Critics claim the Government is forcing the unpopular eco-towns on the public to make more money from the land and say the process by which the final locations are to be selected is flawed, because ministers will have a vested interest in choosing the MoD sites.”


A similar story appeared in the Independent on the same day. Eco-towns could net Treasury £275m By Sadie Gray Sunday, 29 June 2008 (2) "Government plans for new eco-towns could make £275m fo the Treasury in land sales, as almost half the shortlisted sites are on MoD land marked for disposal. Five eco-towns are to be built by 2016 and a further five by 2020. Of 15 potential sites, six are on MoD land that is either for sale or has already been sold. Critics claim that ministers charged with deciding on the locations will have a vested interest in picking the MoD sites, according to The Sunday Telegraph.


In the case of the former Royal Engineers depot at Long Marston, the Government stands to make up to £84m from a clawback agreement giving it 50 per cent of the land's increased value if chosen for an eco-town. MoD clawback clauses typically demand between 30 and 50 per cent. A spokesman for the Communities and Local Government Department said: "If surplus public-sector land is available in the right area, then it is right to consider development on such brownfield sites in preference to the green belt."


SOUTH EAST ENGLAND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY BOARD MEETING ON 19th JUNE 2008 ITEM 8 Eco Town Proposals in the South East

SOUTH EAST ENGLAND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY tells us that the Green Town Vision proposals to expand the town onto the MoD site (which predate the eco town initiative), have been developed over a number of years ...(3)


....Whitehill / Bordon is a garrison town where the Ministry of Defence presence makes a large contribution to supporting the local economy and social fabric. The MoD have announced their departure as part of the Defence Training Review (estimated date 2012-2015, possibly phased). The town will be hugely sensitive to the withdrawal, which will exacerbate issues of economic activity rates, unemployment, housing mix and quality and social cohesion.

The Green Town Vision proposals to expand the town onto the MoD site (which predate the eco town initiative), have been developed over a number of years with full public consultation, and have strong community support. Up to 5500 homes and between 2800-5600 jobs are proposed.

Handy idea to use a bit of greenwash to try and sell some land that isn’t moving

But the government insist the eco towns and the proposed privatisation of military training will go ahead as planned. They didn’t factor in the credit crunch. Both projects are now almost certainly doomed.


(1) http://www.antimetrix.org/2008/09/leaked-mod-memo-bad-news-for-st-athan.html
(2) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ecotowns-could-net-treasury-163275m-856667.html

(3) www.seeda.co.uk/About_SEEDA/Board_members/board_meetings/papers/June2008/Item8-EcoTownsBoardReport.doc


DCLG denies weekend eco-town reports
Regen.net (subscription), UK -
... that officials at the DCLG have concluded only 'one or two' of the 15 shortlisted projects are genuinely viable. It said the Eco-Towns Challenge. ...
CLG claims eco-towns are on track Inside Housing
Government vows to push on with eco-towns despite credit crunch Birmingham Post
Collapse of eco-towns plan denied Local Government Chronicle
Public Servant Online

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St Modwen and co-developers the Bird Group have already announced their intention to make Middle Quinton one of the most sustainable communities in the country, if they get Government approval to turn the 600-acre former MOD depot into an eco-town.

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The majority of residents in the small village of Long Marston are thought to be against building an eco-town on disused MoD land nearby.

Government paid charity to produce eco-town 'fact' leaflets

07/09/2008 00:32AM BST | By Vikki Miller | News | Relevance: 92.69%

Government paid charity to produce eco-town 'fact' leaflets. Gordon Brown's eco-towns scheme was embroiled in new controversy last night as a housing charity admitted it had been paid to produce information leaflets setting out the Government's case.. ..
Bordon Area Action Group http://baaga.co.uk/othersites.aspx

Middle Quinton www.bardcampaign.org
Curborough www.factinfo.co.uk
Weston Otmoor www.westonfront.com




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