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Don’t scrap garden-city principles, architects urge government

Bicester Garden City aerial byFarrells

Architects are among more than 50 organisations that have warned the government not to go ahead with plans to scrap reference to garden city principles in national planning guidance

The government’s proposed revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), unveiled last month, remove a line that calls on new settlements and urban villages to follow the principles.

The RIBA and HTA Design have joined 56 other councils, planning firms, professional bodies and urban design professionals, to issue a statement outlining the danger in the move.

The statement said: ‘The NPPF is essential guidance for local authorities in their decision-making processes and is vital for negotiations on land prices and in securing high place-making standards.

‘This deletion has caused uncertainty across the sector on the status of the garden city principles, particularly when many local authorities, communities and the private sector have made a commitment to delivering new garden villages, towns and cities, and the government has announced the delivery of a further five new garden towns.’

Other organisations to sign the declaration include URBED – which won the Wolfson Prize in 2014 with its garden city proposals – the Urban Design Group, the Landscape Institute and the Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA).

TCPA chief executive Kate Henderson said: ‘Meeting the nation’s housing needs involves more than just delivering housing units; we need to create beautiful places which offer a wide range of employment opportunities and genuinely affordable homes, while enabling more sustainable lifestyles.’

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: ‘Ministers have been clear that garden towns and villages remain a vital tool to delivering the transformational housing growth this country needs.

‘We have already backed 24 new garden cities, towns and villages which have the potential to create 220,000 new homes and are committed to supporting the introduction of more.’

Garden City plan as proposed by Urbed

Garden City plan as proposed by Urbed

Garden City plan as proposed by Urbed


Readers' comments (4)


    On this topic see an excellent short illustrated article by Drummond Robson and Gary Young in the latest issue of Planning in London [www.planninginlondon.com]

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  • It is disappointing to see that some people are more worried about the appearance of a totally inadequate supply than they are about the supply itself. This is a good example of designers making themselves look irrelevant, given the ongoing inability of governments of all persuasions to house all our people decently.

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  • Disappointing? - and if the housing crisis stampedes politicians into the sort of 'churn them out as fast as you can' philosophy that created the crudely planned and badly built mass housing disasters of the 1960s?

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  • Will the garden cities be affordable places for young families? Commuters are flocking back to regenerate towns like Margate because they are cheaper...but this involved extending a v expensive transit system. We need to find ways to make it more affordable for folks to live closer in. Add affordability before we add structure and quality education for all our inner urban areas...@noschoolsprogramme?

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