Two months after writing to the Department of Communities and Local
Government about the proposed eco-town at Fradley, Michael Fabricant has
finally received a reply from the Minister for Housing and Planning,
Yvette Cooper – "revealing absolutely nothing" says Michael Fabricant.
In her letter to Michael, Yvette Cooper (wife of Ed Balls) writes: "We
are unable to disclose the names of schemes. This would have the
potential to be detrimental to the Department’s interests in the award
of funding and obtaining best value, as well as the commercial interests
of those applicants not selected……. Eco-towns must be new
settlements, places with a separate and distinct identity but good links
to surrounding towns and cities in terms of jobs, transport and
services. Any new settlement must be of sufficient size to ensure a
good level of services, jobs and community facilities to create
attractive and sustainable places to live. There will be provision
within the town of a good range of facilities, including a secondary
school, shopping, business space and leisure."
Michael Fabricant responds: "So we still don’t have an official
admission that the Fradley/Curborough development is under consideration
even though we know full well that developers are actively seeking
approval for this scheme. Nor do we know whether this development will
be a part of Lichfield District’s overall housing new build allocation
or whether, as is believed, this will be in addition. I note that
Yvette Cooper avoided answering my question on that one altogether!
"Most worrying of all is the proposed size of the development. If a
secondary school is to be constructed to serve the so called
‘settlement’, we must be talking about a sizeable town. This will have
a major impact on the environment and transport links in the area.
"I am in close contact with the District Council and I will continue to
press the Government on this issue. The Government are handling this
matter very cack handedly. Their secrecy is causing much concern to
local residents and could blight local property values."