Rural road concern for new town


Public Affairs Corresspondent

A planned 6,000-home new town on the Warwickshire-Worcestershire border would be a magnet for commuters, placing additional traffic on narrow rural roads, a senior planner has warned.

Rex Roberts, chairman of the West Midlands Planning Partnership, said any environmental benefits from the Middle Quinton eco-town would be destroyed by residents using cars to commute.

His claim is denied by developers, St Modwen and the Bird Group, who say the majority of householders will be able to find work in the eco-town, which the two companies want to build on a former MOD site about six miles from Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Government has named Middle Quinton as one of 12 potential schemes which it wishes to promote to increase housing.

However, a sustainability study appeared to concede that local roads would be placed under additional strain.

Coun Roberts added: “Any new or expanded settlements should be identified through the proper regional and local planning processes to ensure that development is in sustainable locations.

“By proposing sites, such as Middle Quinton, which is inconsistent with the Regional Spatial Strategy and local plans, the Government’s eco-towns programme risks undermining regional and local planning.

“An eco-town here could draw people out of the major urban areas and undermine our efforts to support urban renaissance.”

The site was given a B-rating by the independent sustainability study, indicating that it “might be a suitable location subject to meeting specific planning and design objectives”.

St Modwen regional director John Dodds said: “The sustainability appraisal for Middle Quinton is very good news as it highlights many of the positive attributes of the site without introducing any insurmountable negative issues.”