Residents of the proposed Middle Quinton eco-town in south Warwickshire would have to pay an annual service charge, as much as £500, for management costs, maintenance and the provision of services such as waste disposal and heating.
The levy, to a community trust, would be in addition to parish council precepts and Stratford-on-Avon council tax bills, which range from £1,373 for an average Band D property to £2,747 for a Band H home.
Describing the service charge as “normal commercial practice”, John Dodds, regional director of St Modwen, developers of Middle Quinton, said the intention was to negotiate reduced council tax for people living in the eco-town’s 6,000 homes.
Mr Dodds said: “We will be providing recycling, street cleaning, refuse services and street lighting. People don’t mind paying for something they see the benefit of.”
St Modwen and co-developers the Bird Group have already announced their intention to make Middle Quinton one of the most sustainable communities in the country, if they get Government approval to turn the 600-acre former MOD depot into an eco-town.
All homes will be carbon-neutral, with chutes to dispose of waste and recyclable materials, which will be used to create electricity and gas. Each property will have vacuum pumps with rainwater harvesting tanks. Turning non-recyclable materials into gas will contribute towards the power consumption of the eco-town, reducing the need to tap into the National Grid and bringing average heating bills down from over £1,000 per year to just over £100.
Every resident will be given a free bicycle and an option to acquire an electric car as part of a house purchase or rental agreement.
St Modwen and the Bird Group will know by the end of October whether Middle Quinton has been selected as one of 10 eco-towns across the country.
Local authorities, including Warwickshire and Worcestershire county councils and Stratford and Wychavon district councils, are opposed to the scheme they say will result in development of a commuter town with residents dependent on cars to travel to work.
Housing Minister Caroline Flint is expected to announce today that only one person per household in an eco-town should drive to work. She will say that developers will be expected to provide buses, trains and jobs in a town to ensure that more than half of all journeys are made by bicycle, foot or public transport.