A secret plan to build a controversial eco-town in Wakefield has been scrapped after a dramatic U-turn by developers, the Express can exclusively reveal.
A leaked document showing plans for 9,000 new homes on the Wakefield and Leeds border, near Lofthouse and Altofts, was seen by the Express earlier this week.
Enquiries to Wakefield Council prompted a furious reaction as the authority said it had not been told by government chiefs of the proposal.
The plans had been sent to London in late October by developers GMI Property Company Ltd and Oulton Hall (IOM) Ltd.
The plan was to seek government approval to initially build 5,000 homes, with plans for 4,000 more.
The 800 acres of land earmarked for the project is largely privately owned by the two companies and classed as green belt.
New schools, shops, a community centre, banks and restaurants formed part of the proposal, as did wind turbines and a bio-mass power station, which ran on eco-friendly wood.
Now scheme bosses have scrapped plans for The Green, as it was called, so they can concentrate on other eco-town schemes.
James Poskitt, managing director of GMI Property Company Ltd, told the Express: “Following earlier consultations with the local authority (Leeds) and having considered the criteria set out in the government’s document released three weeks ago, GMI Property Company, along with our partners, have decided to formally withdraw our eco-town bid for The Green to enable us to concentrate on our proposals elsewhere.
“We will be writing to the government to confirm this decision.”
In response, Andrew Wallhead, corporate director for regeneration, culture and sport, said: “We welcome this statement from GMI.
“The government did not give us any information about this proposal and we found out that it includes part of the Wakefield district in the press yesterday.
“The council opposes eco-towns in any part of the district and has already written to the government minister Caroline Flint to make our opposition very clear.
“The council has serious concerns that eco-towns will destroy valuable countryside and draw investment away from existing communities.”
The council contacted the government office this week and were told that plans for The Green had attracted little support.
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