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Government vows to resurrect garden cities ideal

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to outline plans for a new wave of garden cities as part of a radical action plan to boost UK house building

The Liberal Democrat leader will praise the ‘proud tradition’ of the Garden Cities movement, pledging a government-backed contest to promote interest in similar large scale projects.

In a speech to the National House Building Council’s annual lunch today (21 November), he is expected to call for ‘radical action’ to provide more homes and opportunities for young people to buy property.

Announcing £225 million worth of new funding to leverage private investment in housing, Clegg will also promise direct intervention to unlock 48,600 new homes.

He is expected to say: ‘We looked and we couldn’t find any records of a single new development of more than 13,500 homes in this country since the 1970s.

‘We simply don’t have the right incentives and levers to drive sustainable development at scale - that needs to change.’

The coalition government ‘won’t deliver whole new cities overnight’, he will say, but is ‘committed’ to running a competition to drum up local and private sector support for new large scale developments.

A prospectus will be published setting out more detail on what the government expects from local authorities and developers, and what it can offer in return.

The NHBC also announced new figures showing 26,440 new homes were registered between August and October 2012, compared with 26,509 for the same period last year.

NHBC chief executive Mike Quinton said: ‘Our figures show there is still an urgent need for new homes, with little increase in the number of homes being built this year. We therefore welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement that more, targeted support is coming to an ailing industry, particularly the £225m funding to unlock 48,600 new homes.

‘The plan to create new Garden Cities and large-scale housing is bold, but at its heart lies a commitment to increase the number of homes being built, and we look forward to hearing more.’

He added: ‘The Government has in the last year announced a variety of measures to stimulate the market. Some of these – including the NewBuy scheme, the FirstBuy extension and Funding for Lending – do anecdotally seem to be having a positive effect.

‘It is now vital that this level of dedicated support from Government is sustained and we therefore hope that a long term commitment to housing is reflected in next month’s Autumn Statement and beyond.’


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