17th August 2008
I was surprised by the article in the Sunday Times 17th August reporting that the Marston Vale eco-town bid is a strong contender due to “significantly less local opposition than other proposals”.
The Marston Moretaine Eco-Town Action Group (MMETAG) was formed on 24th June 2008 to organise opposition to the eco-towns and has no political affiliations. We are one of three active Action Groups fighting the Marston Vale proposal by O&H Properties. There are three action groups due to the sheer size of this bid 15,500 dwelling swamping local villages and identities, the largest currently being 1,900 homes. All have had well attended public meetings, MMETAG’s was on the 9th July and over 200 worried residents attended.
Our concerns are as follows:
q The proposal seeks to build on 90% Greenfield land that currently grows crops to feed this country, an issue of growing importance
q Development on this scale locally will lead to the destruction of existing village communities. The proposal seeks to create a new town that would be three times the combined size of our two nearest towns
q The proposed 15,500 dwellings are in addition to the existing onerous allocation for housing development in Bedfordshire, that currently includes large scale building locally, including a substantial increase in the size of Marston Moretaine itself and a new town, The Wixams, nearby
q The coalescence of villages which will occur between Milton Keynes and Bedford resulting in the loss of distinctive rural communities as Brogborough, Lidlington, Marston Moretaine and Stewartby all disappear. In reality the proposal would create a major conurbation of Milton Keynes and Bedford
q The contradiction in terms that an ecotown implies. The construction of an ecotown may be carbon neutral (though this is arguable) but its ongoing environmental impact will not be. The additional minimum 31,000+ inhabitants will place additional demands on infrastructure and strain transport systems already at the limits of capacity. Our road, rail and health care would be unable to accommodate such a dramatic increase in population.
The bid frequently refers to the area as a despoiled landscape with regard a history of clay extraction and brick building. Admittedly the landscape in parts was despoiled however, the eco-town would undo the environmental regeneration arising from the expansion of the Forest of Marston Vale. This whole area is not a single ‘despoiled landscape’. The area from Marston Moretaine to Lidlington is beautiful with well managed and successful agriculture farmland.
Mr Stewart Long