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Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff today confronted Gordon Brown in the House of Commons over the two proposed eco-towns in his constituency, at Throckmorton and Long Marston.

During a rowdy Prime Minister's Question Time, Peter used the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister to listen to local people, and to scrap the proposals which are not wanted, and won't succeed in providing eco-friendly, affordable accommodation.

Peter asked:

"Bizarrely, the Prime Minister has referred twice in these Prime Minister’s questions to the popularity of eco-towns. Obviously, he is not aware of the overwhelming opposition to them in my constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (John Maples). If he is capable of taking a decision and wants to prove that he is a true democrat, will he take this opportunity to rule out both those sites now?"

The Prime Minister replied

"Unfortunately, the Conservative party is not only against eco-towns but against building homes altogether. There have been 60 applications for eco-towns, so it does not sound as though they are unpopular - it sounds as though they are popular. Once again, the Conservative party is on the wrong side of the argument."

Commenting later Peter said:

"I had hoped that Gordon Brown might engage with the real argument and not make false claims about my views on house building. Instead, I was astounded by the Prime Minister's response. Surely he can't really believe that 60 proposals for eco-towns from developers who stand to make a fortune from them means there's a national clamour for them?

"If the Government's approach to local democracy is now down to pleasing developers rather than local people, then it is nothing short of an outrage.

"The slick spin doctors of Downing Street may think that by putting the word "eco" in front of something it cannot be criticised. In truth there is little "eco" about eco-towns at all. They will put huge demands on the wider infrastructure of their area - on the roads, the railways, the hospitals, the waste disposal systems, water and sewage systems and even power supplies. And precisely because eco-towns can't exist in a vacuum, they will have a big impact on the current residents of an area.

"I'm all in favour of affordable housing, and I'm all in favour of reducing the carbon footprint of new housing - and old housing too, but these eco-towns are just another gimmick that is more about spin than substance. The folly is that they risk substituting a quick-fix (and a damaging one too) for the real hard work of providing sufficient housing and making our total housing stock more environmentally sustainable."

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