Eco-town shortlist reduced

Gordon Brown is facing an embarrassing climbdown over his eco-town plans, as fierce local resistance and a disintegrating house market has forced the government to reduce the shortlist to only five sites, from the original 12 put forward by developers. But there is no guarantee that all five will be built, leaving Mr Brown’s pledge to create 10 new communities in tatters. In November, the government’s own assessment of the 12 sites found that just one was ‘genuinely suitable’. The final shortlist will be out in the spring.