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New town for Bucks under 'secret' Tory plan?
THE Conservatives have been accused of covering up a secret report which recommends potentially building a new town in Buckinghamshire.
Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire have reportedly been earmarked as potential sites for the developments.
Prime Minister David Cameron supported the idea in a speech nearly two years ago – but Whitehall officials are reportedly ‘panicking’ about whether the document should be made public.
The Tories are concerned about a backlash from voters in historically safe seats if the report is released before next year’s general election.
The report is understood to be fewer than 50 pages long and recommends building at least two communities, modelled on Letchworth and Welwyn which were created in the first wave of garden cities.
New Government planning guidelines, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which critics say weakens the protection of the countryside, could allow the developments to happen.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told MPs last week: "I believe in garden cities and [that is] why, as a Government, we are committed to publishing a prospectus on them, which I very much hope we will do as soon as possible."
A source close to the Liberal Democrat Leader told The Telegraph the row over the public publication of the report was "purely political".
Tim Farron, the Lib Dems’ party president, said: "It is time to break the log jam. This report needs to come out now and come out quickly.
"The Tories are displaying a Nimby attitude towards garden cities."
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has pledged the biggest programme of new town construction seen in decades if Labour wins the general election.
The party is committed to building 200,000 new homes a year by 2020.
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