Replies to letter in Beds on Sunday 30/11/08



I am writing on behalf of the 700 people who recently closed the A421 by marching on part of its length. The Marston Moretaine Eco-Town Action Group (MMETAG) takes exception to John Bingham’s letter and we appreciate the stance taken by Ampthill Town Council.

Mr Bingham’s letter had three points of particular concern. Firstly, our concepts of ‘tidying up’ clearly differ. The communities in the Marston Vale would see this as relating to closing down the Brick works, closing the landfill sites and restoring peaceful villages with clean air. Mr Bingham sees it as dumping 15,500 dwellings, including tower blocks in the area, destroying agricultural land that feeds us and joining up Bedford and Milton Keynes in one gigantic urban sprawl.

Secondly, Mr Bingham appears to have missed the Government and Developer spin on eco-towns! No-one need ever leave them! All your employment and leisure will be contained within this new paradise! We’ll all walk or cycle everywhere! Certainly they do not see thousands of additional car commuters heading on that wonderful new road to the M1 – hardly eco – but clearly the reality.

Finally, we’ll all be using the Bedford to Bletchley line – no we won’t Mr Bingham! It is not electrified and if all the much talked about development of it occurred it would prioritise fast trains to Oxford and freight. No space for a little old ‘eco’ stopping service.

I would encourage anyone taken in by the developer hype to visit our website and get the other side of the argument. Have a look at the protest march videos and the revealing videos of what the developer really believes.

Yours sincerely
Mr Stewart Long

p.s. many thanks BoS for the excellent picture used from the march

2nd reply

Dear Sir/Madam,
I write in response to the letter from John Bingham in BoS on 30th November, which he wrote in support of the proposed eco-town in the Marston Vale. I have just 2 points to make:
1)He talks about the easy access the eco-town would have to the M1. This is an interesting point he makes, as I believe he is hitting on one of the major flaws in the ‘Eco’ argument for this site. If it were to go ahead, which I certainly hope it does not, it definitely would NOT be the eco-friendly idyll that the government and developers are making it out to be. They are trying to make people believe that they will never need to leave an eco-town – Their work, leisure and all other activities will happen in one single place. Mr. Bingham however has hit on the truth – They will be no more eco than any other development will have to be in the future and people will still want, and need, to commute to other places. For this reason it is obvious to see that the developers are just using the eco-town ‘tag’ as a method of building a large number of houses on one site and making a huge amount of money in the process. The fact that 90% is to be built on green-field land is of no worry or consequence to them.

2)He stated that he thought ‘Marston Vale could do with something to tidy up this sorry area of Bedfordshire’. I am afraid I take exception to this statement, and our interpretations of what constitutes tidying up an area are very different indeed. My interpretation is the closing of the brick-works and land-fill sites, the building of the Millennium Park and the Forest Centre, and generally making the area into peaceful group of villages which are great places to live with excellent individual communities. It seems that Mr. Bingham’s interpretation is building 15000+ dwellings on green-field land, destroying the individual character of the local villages and creating an urban sprawl that will link Bedford to Milton Keynes. I would be interested to know whether Mr. Bingham would be so strongly in favour if it was Ampthill that was going to increase to 15 times its size?

Jonathan Gore, Marston Moretaine.


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