Government sustainability experts have produced a report on whether Long Marston will be able to house an eco town that meets the highest environmental standards. Environment Correspondent Patrice John visited the development to find out about its ecological merits.
It’s the sight of the disused rail line that strikes you first.
Right in the middle of the 630-acre site, there it stands housing a solitary train carriage that has reached the end of line. It’s going nowhere.
But if developers St Modwen and the Bird Group get their way, this area will be reborn as the hub of a bustling community.
Their vision is to transform the acres of land that make up the ex-MoD site of Long Marston into 6,000 homes – and rename it Middle Quinton.
St Modwen development surveyor Peter Rudd says: “There is more than 44 miles of rail track on this site and we aim to make this place an area for sustainable travel.
“We also have a bus route near the site and we envisage that the people who live and work here will be less reliant on their cars.”
Transport links to the development have been one of the biggest issues of contention.
Those who are against the development claim the site is too remote to sustain its own transportation network and reduced carbon emissions on site will be cancelled out by the numbers who would have to travel to and from Middle Quinton by car.
The developers vehemently refute this claiming the transportation links are good.
“When the government proposed eco towns we thought the size and location of this site would be one of the best places to build one,” says Mr Rudd.
“One of the good things you can do with a large development like this is plan the infrastructure carefully and make sure the right structures are in place on site. We have experience of sites of this nature and there is a lot going for this development.
“Our plan is to make it five interlinked villages and we will be keeping the woodland in place.
“There will be a mixture of designs and densities to make sure this doesn’t look anything like a 1980s housing estate.”
Mr Rudd is keen to emphasise the green credentials of the site and says the developers are considering a range of measures including solar panels, re-using rain water and installing a vacuum system that takes away waste products.