The Dever Society has launched an online petition against the proposed Micheldever Station Eco-Town.
Despite the Town’s supposed environmental credentials, I’m also opposed and have signed the petition, primarily because the Town’s environmental credentials are a sham: the proposal is not environmental at all. By creating a new transport node equidistant between Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester, the new town will create a huge amount of extra journeys. As and when we require further housing, our priority needs to supporting sustainable lifestyles in our existing town centres – this plan does the exact opposite.
One element that takes a while to sink in is how completely enormous the proposed town is. Eagle Star (the owner) are proposing to have 12,500 new houses and close to 30,000 residents.
When I hear the word ‘market town’ in this part of the world, I tend to think of Alresford, Whitchurch or Wickham – but this proposal is bigger than Alresford, Whitchurch and Wickham added together! Compared to the 12,500 houses proposed for Micheldever Station, there are 2,300 houses in the town of New Alresford – around the same number in the town of Whitchurch, slightly fewer in Wickham and only 14,500 in the town wards of the city of Winchester. This is an absolutely huge development.
It’s important that as many people as possible sign up to back the petition. Anyone can sign up – details are at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Micheldever/.
If you need to know more, the Dever Society has a very useful briefing, and extracts from the speech I made at their public meeting in Micheldever Station are below.
It’s because I’m passionate about climate change and the environment that I’m so angry about this proposal.Because although it’s talked about in terms of the environment – it’s not an environmental proposal.
This eco-town proposal is a double fig-leaf
It’s a fig leaf for the Government – because by building a few communities around the UK to zero carbon standards, they hope they can hide the fact that thousands more houses across Hampshire and across the country are not being built to the highest environmental standards.
And it’s a fig leaf for Eagle Star – because it gives them another cynical shot at concreting over the countryside
I like the idea of zero carbon housing. I like it a lot.
But introducing tough new building standards in Micheldever Station and allowing developments in Winchester and Alresford – and all the other communities in Hampshire at much lower building standards – makes no sense at all.
When it comes to climate change, we need to be raising standards for everyone. And we need to be helping people improve the homes they’ve already got.
If you remove the zero carbon edge from the Eagle Star proposal, its damaging environmental consequences become crystal clear.
The biggest problem is transport. By adding a new transport node in between Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester, the Eagle Star proposal will dramatically increase commuting and fuel usage. The strategy that’s been put forward for the South East region is right. We need to be expanding our current centres not creating new ones.
This is a classic case of a company trying to greenwash their tired old Micheldever Station proposal.
Their newly discovered love of zero carbon development gives Eagle Star another bit of the cherry…
Take the bits of the eco town specification they like. And ignore the bits they don’t like – such as the encouragement to build on surplus public sector land
An excuse to do what they’ve spent most of the last two decades trying to do…
Build all over the countryside
The only thing they’re looking for is another chance to build. To trash the Hampshire countryside and fill their boots.
Eagle Star aren’t looking to improve the environment. They’re looking for an excuse.
If I thought that this plan was going to make a dramatic positive difference to Hampshire’s environment and make a bigger contribution to reducing climate change than any alternative, I’d be standing here making a very unpopular speech this evening.
But I genuinely don’t believe this plan ever will make sense environmentally.
I’m with you on this one.
Not because I don’t care about the environment.
But because I do. Because I believe that climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face.
And because I believe that the Micheldever Station Market Town Proposal:
- Doesn’t help the environment
- Won’t help the climate
- And is ultimately a cynical greenwash of an old idea.
And I’ll do anything I can to help you stop it.
Please support the resolution before us tonight.