Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is seeking a consultant for the early stages of a new ‘garden village’ settlement
The winner of the estimated £40,000 contract will complete a scoping and feasibility study for a major new development within the 33,000 hectare borough which is within commuting distance of London.
The investigation is part of the local authority’s preparation of a new strategic local plan covering future residential and commercial growth up until 2033. The study will explore the possibility of creating a new ‘garden village’ within the borough and its most suitable form and location.
According to the brief: ‘Tunbridge Wells Borough Council wishes to commission consultants to carry out a scoping and feasibility study to assess the potential for accommodating a new settlement within the borough. Depending on the outcome of initial feasibility work the study may also include assessment of potential locations promoted by developers and landowners.
‘It is envisaged that the findings of this study, together with other evidence, will assist the council in drawing up a strategic development strategy for the borough as part of the preparation of a new local plan. There may be potential for follow on work in relation to the various stages of plan preparation.’
The Borough of Tunbridge Wells is located on the south west border of Kent and includes parts of the North Weald and the fertile Weald Clay Plain which is often referred to as the Garden of England. Major settlements include Royal Tunbridge Wells and Cranbrook.
The latest study will draw on ‘available knowledge and best practice’ to determine whether a new garden village could be constructed with the area. Potential locations have yet to be revealed.
The contract comes seven months after the government announced plans for 200,000 new homes in a raft of ‘garden villages’ and ‘garden towns’ across the country. The programme signalled a major U-turn on previous housing minister Brandon Lewis’s position that new towns would create ‘resentment’ and ‘urban sprawl’.
Lewis, who was replaced by Barwell in July 2016, said at the time: ‘We do not intend to follow the failed example of top-down eco-towns from the last administration. We are committed to protecting the green belt from development as an important protection against urban sprawl.’
Garden cities were conceived by visionary architect Ebenezer Howard, who set out plans for self-sufficient garden cities ringed by agricultural belts in 1898. Architect Raymond Unwin and his partner Barry Parker won the competition to lay out the first, Letchworth, in 1904.
Twenty-seven new towns drawing on garden city principles were built in the UK following the passing of the New Towns Act in 1946.
The deadline for applications was 12noon on 24 July.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Tel: +44 1892526121