THE Government has given the Co-operative Group's plans for an eco-town on its land in Leicestershire a major boost by including the scheme in a shortlist of 15 projects to go forward to a public consultation phase later this year.
The society was one of more than 50 which responded to the Government's challenge to bring forward sites which could deliver new communities to the highest standards of design and sustainability.
The Co-op project was named in a report published by the Department of Communities and Local Government following a careful cross-departmental examination of each submission.
Lynda Shillaw, Managing Director of The Co-operative Estates, the Group's land and property division, commented: "The Co-operative Group is in a unique position to deliver a new town which will mark a step change to the country's approach to community design and the way we live together. It will help provide a sustainable future for ourselves and our children.
"Our track record on environmental and community issues is exemplary whether it is in working to combat climate change, pioneering sustainable technology or working closely with people to improve community life. If anyone can deliver the eco-town vision, it is the Group."
Consultation and engagement with the community will be a central part of the project's next stage and Group plans to begin the process as soon as possible, subject to agreement with the Department of Communities and Local Government and local authorities.
"We need to share our ideas with local people and get their input to help shape the definitive plan," said Ms Shillaw.
*Further coverage in the next issue of Co-op News available from April 15th.