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Government promises 200,000 ‘garden village’ homes

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The government has announced plans for 200,000 new homes in a raft of ‘garden villages’ and ‘garden towns’ across the country

Announced by housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell yesterday (2 January), the programme will see £7.4 million invested to support the delivery of new settlements with their own community facilities.

The first wave will include 14 ‘garden villages’ featuring between 1,500 and 10,000 homes each and expected to deliver more than 48,000 new units in total.

In addition to the villages, a further three ‘garden towns’ at Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow & Gilston will also be supported.

The announcement follows a ‘high level’ of expressions of interest made by local authorities in accessing support from the programme this summer, according to a government statement. Additional garden village proposals may also be put forward later this year.

Commenting on the programme, Barwell said: ‘Locally-led garden towns and villages have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need.

‘New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies. These places combined could provide almost 200,000 homes.’

The latest programme signals a major U-turn on previous housing minister Brandon Lewis’s position that new towns would create ‘resentment’ and ‘urban sprawl’.

Commenting on URBED’s Wolfson prize-winning Garden City plan in 2014, Lewis vowed he would not recreate New Labour’s ‘top-down eco-towns’, an idea which was scrapped eight years ago.

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 government confirmed the development of a new 15,000-home garden city in Ebbsfleet in Kent as part of the 2014 Budget. The announcement also included the opening of a new development corporation to drive the creation of ‘spacious, attractive, high-quality places to live’ modelled on garden city principles.

Locations of the 14 new garden villages

  • Long Marston, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Cotswolds, Oxfordshire 
  • Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire
  • Culm, Devon
  • Welborne, Hampshire
  • West Carclaze, Cornwall
  • Dunton Hills, Essex
  • Spitalgate Heath, Lincolnshire
  • Halsnead, Merseyside
  • Longcross, Surrey
  • Bailrigg, Lancaster
  • Infinity Garden Village, Derbyshire
  • St Cuthberts, Cumbria
  • Handforth, Cheshire

Locations of the three new garden towns

  • Aylesbury area, Buckinghamshire
  • Taunton area, Somerset
  • Harlow & Gilston, Essex-Hertfordshire border
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