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Letter: Is it time to build a 30,000-home eco-town in the New Forest?

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SIR – Three recent headlines suggest we have concerns regarding planning in both the BCP and New Forest District Council areas:

"Housing boss defends affordable housing record” (A&T, 22nd April)

“Virtual extraordinary meeting to be held town council response to 491 homes planned at Moortown Lane, near Ringwood” (advertiserandtimes.co.uk, 11th April)

Does the area need thousands more affordable homes?
Does the area need thousands more affordable homes?

“NFDC concerned by border homes plans” (A&T, 8th April).

What also concerns me about the recent inflation rate increase announced (CPI of 6.2%) is that it will lead to far more strained household budgets.

The combined effects of Brexit, Covid, energy crisis, interest rate increases, National Insurance increases, council tax increases, climate change and now the war in Ukraine may yet result in a similar or worse financial crash to 2008.

We now must do far more address to poverty throughout the UK. Surely far more affordable social housing, with good insulation, and an electric mass transit system are required to reduce the need for Russian oil and gas and address climate change.

What could be done in NFDC and BCP?

We could build an eco-town centred around Burton and Sopley (on the same principle as Poundbury) of 30,000 dwellings (50% social housing) and a 2,000 extra care bed village on a 1,000-hectare site on green belt land, immediately converting it to development land and using the profit for electric mass transit systems around BCP and NFDC.

Buy land at say £10,000 per hectare. So, for say 250 hectares the cost would be £2.5m and the gain could be £1.5bn.

For the Victorians “coal was king”. But for us Elizabethans in the 21st century perhaps it should be “green is queen” and a fitting tribute for the platinum jubilee of Elizabeth II.

Geoff Bantock,

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