Michael Fabricant has received a written apology from the Rt Hon
Caroline Flint MP, Minister for Housing and Planning concerning a
misleading advertisement published in local newspapers, a Parliamentary
Statement, and literature published in support of the proposed eco-town
at Fradley in Staffordshire. Angry residents pointed out the error to
Michael who took the matter up immediately with Government Ministers.
The advertisement stated that the Curborough Eco-Town would be built on
the disused airfield at Fradley and a brownfield site "with hard
standing and old airfield buildings". Michael says: "This was totally
untrue. In fact, over 90% of the proposed development would have been
on greenfield land. It is sad that the Government got their facts so
badly wrong. How much taxpayer’s money has been wasted as a
consequence?" The Minister is also informing the Advertising Standards
Authority to whom a complaint was also made.
In her written apology, Caroline Flint says: "In my answer of 16 July
2008, Official Report, column 486W, on promotional materials in relation
to the proposed Curborough eco-town, I referred you to the consultation
document Eco-towns – Living a greener future. It transpires that this
document contains a factual error.
"The consultation document stated that the proposed Curborough
development was "part of former Fradley airfield [and] a brownfield site
with hardstanding and old airfield buildings". The consultation document
contained an error: only a part of the former Fradley airfield is within
the proposed site, and the majority of the proposed site is greenfield
"My answer referred you to that document. The copy for our advert in
relation to the proposed Curborough eco-town, and my written statement
to Parliament of 3 April, Official Report, column 71WS also contained
the error. We will correct the written statement at the earliest
opportunity. We have set out the position to the Advertising Standards
"The Department regrets this error and any inconvenience it has caused."