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Clegg pledges to build five new garden cities


Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has pledged to build five new garden cities between Oxford and Cambridge

According to Clegg, who was speaking at the party’s conference in Glasgow, the plans will create 50,000 new homes and form part of a wider boost to housebuilding of 300,000 homes per year.

If elected the Lib Dems would re-open the Oxford to Cambridge rail link which Clegg dubbed the ‘Garden Cities Line’, and ‘expand three to five’ of the towns along the route using garden city principles.

Clegg said: ‘Garden Cities are a vital cornerstone of our plan to boost house building to 300,000 homes a year – enough to meet demand and keep prices in reach – while still protecting our precious green space and preventing urban sprawl. Our plan is to build a series of high quality new towns and cities where people want to live, with green space, sustainable transport and spacious homes.’

The deputy prime minister blamed the Conservative party for holding back the development of garden cities.

He added: ‘The Conservatives have held back the development of Garden Cities on the scale necessary, but if Liberal Democrats are part of the next government, we will ensure at least ten get underway – with up to five along this new Garden Cities Railway, bringing new homes and jobs to the brain-belt of South East England.’

The housing minister, Conservative MP Brandon Lewis had previously slammed URBED’s Wolfson Prize-winning garden cities proposals comparing them to New Labour’s ‘failed examples of top-down eco-towns’.

Lewis said the Conservative government ‘do not intend to follow the failed example of top-down eco-towns from the last administration’ and that it would not be taking up the plans.

Earlier this year, Clegg called on the government to put aside party politics and create a new wave of garden cities in the south of England.


Readers' comments (2)

  • Geoff Haslam

    Congratulations to Nick Clegg for some sensible, joined up thinking on addressing the UK's massive housing need. This could be a vote winner for the Lib Dems, but needs careful 'selling' to those existing towns that are to be expanded and all those "nimbys" who won't want a new rail route near them.

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  • The rail route already exists, although much of it is derelict/closed or freight only. As for five new towns along it, Bicester is already trying to be an eco-town; Claydon and Verney are small hamlets that will NOT want to expand; Milton Keynes/Bletchley – enough said; Bedford probably already being in-filled etc, leaving only Sandy... which is already being swamped by the usual suspects, and all of them already on north/south lines so they can become London dormitories. Still, who needs agricultural land I hear someone say. Time to get real about authentic new urban dwelling at v.high density and authentically sustainable, i.e. self-sufficient and without 30% of the land buried under statutory tarmac, and stop listening to politicians and their superficial 'answers'.
    Bob Franklin, Oxford.

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