The Greater Norwich Development Partnership urged the government to consider its favoured site at Rackheath, about five miles from Norwich, instead of the planned site at Coltishall on a former RAF base.
In a letter to housing minister Caroline Flint, the leaders of Norwich City Council, Broadland DC, South Norfolk Council, Norfolk CC and the Broads Authority said the landowners wanted the Rackheath site to be developed.
The leaders said the site was already earmarked for development in the area’s strategic planning framework, had been consulted upon, and was close to a railway line and areas of planned job growth.
The Coltishall site is owned by the government. The Ministry of Justice wants to put a new prison on part of the site, but there would be enough space for an eco-town too.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities & Local Government said both Norfolk schemes would go on the eco-town shortlist, but only one could win and it was possible that neither would be selected.