Devon County Council hosts eco-towns seminar

PUBLISHED: 13:34 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:54 10 June 2010

HOUSING and planning experts gathered at Devon County Hall thiis week to discuss how to provide sustainable and affordable homes in the region.

HOUSING and planning experts gathered at Devon County Hall thiis week to discuss how to provide sustainable and affordable homes in the region.

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) seminar was highlighting the issue of eco-towns and creating sustainable communities, while looking to address the affordable housing crisis in the region.

Tony Fyson, Vice Chairman of the TCPA, said: "The ecological aspect of how developments are built is right at the top of the agenda. The eco-towns initiative provides the opportunity to marry the social need for more affordable housing and community infrastructure with the environmental issues associated with housing growth, providing better communities in the long term."

The two new communities currently proposed in Devon as part of the Devon Structure Plan may not be eco-towns but they demonstrate many of the challenges and characteristics, he said.

Edward Chorlton, Devon County Council Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Environment, Economy and Culture, said: "Devon is a county with a number of growth points, for example, east of Exeter with plans for the new community of Cranbrook, expansion of the airport, Science Park, intermodal freight terminal and Skypark. The structure plan before last required two new communities - that was 12 years ago, and the first sod will be cut this year, all being well. Delivery for new settlements takes time and I'm interested in how housing provision can be accelerated to meet Government targets.

"The recent inspectors' report into the Regional Spatial Strategy recommended a 30 per cent increase on the housing figures set out in the Regional Assembly's draft. In Torbay alone it recommended a 100 per cent increase, that is around 10,000-20,000 homes, or the equivalent of building a new town the size of Paignton in Torbay."

The TCPA, which is an independent campaigning charity, is aiming for its seminars on eco-towns to assist local authorities and development agencies in delivering sustainable housing growth.

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