A comment comes in about the transport aspects of eco-towns covered in my post of last night Weston-Otmoor Flintgrad will be Commuterville. It suggests that the fine for driving out of Flintgrad at peak times could be as high as £200.
That seems consistent with the general approach likely to be taken by a government which thinks that heavy-handed authoritarianism is the way to go. My theme yesterday was that we are in fact unlikely to see the transport benefits – the incentives – which the developer is offering. They are out of the developer’s hands anyway, and any scheme which depends on a Labour government honouring its commitments, on the competence of Network Rail, and on the abilities of the transport officers of Oxfordshire County Council, is doomed to failure.
It is easy to predict that we will see all the burdens and none of the incentives. Who is going to choose to live in Flintgrad if they are to be caged in by their dependence on public transport in a country with a track-record of under-investment in transport and with a culture in which transport is the preserve of the dimmest officials?
This goes to the viability of the whole project. To fund the enormous capital spend on infrastructure which will be required, to say nothing of the ongoing “free” public transport which is promised, the developer must anticipate a substantial profit on the houses – houses which will have to be built to stringent (that is, expensive) eco-standards if the eco-towns are to begin to justify the ruin of greenfield sites which is involved.
Who will choose to go and live where Caroline Flint can – literally – dictate your every move?