Councils to bid to build new garden towns

The Government has published a new garden towns prospectus, which sets out a list of criteria that local authorities and private sector partners must meet to receive backing and funding.

The forward says the programme will not be ‘about creating dormitory towns, or places which just use “garden” as a convenient label, this is about setting clear expectations for the quality of the development and how this can be maintained (such as by following Garden City principles).’

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said that their garden communities programme has the potential to provide over 200,000 new homes by 2050.

‘We want to help local authorities build strong and vibrant communities where people want to live, work, and raise families,’ he added.

The prospectus says they will favour applications that:

  • Includes more than 10,000 homes.
  • Demonstrates how the new garden community fits with wider strategies to support economic growth and increase productivity.
  • Shows how the new garden community fits with wider strategies to support economic growth and increase productivity.
  • Shows strong local leadership, with proposals that have the backing of more than one local authority favoured.
  • Engages with the local community and has a distinctive local identity
  • Is sustainable and has the necessary infrastructure to support future growth.

A spokesman for the County Councils Network told Environment Journal: ‘We welcome the new garden town prospectus published today by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. We particularly welcome the emphasis on the need for joint agreement across both tiers of local government in order to deliver new garden towns successfully.

‘This is something that CCN has been calling for in national policy through the statement of statement of common ground proposed in the recently updated National Planning Policy Framework

‘Counties, as infrastructure providers, face severe funding gaps. We therefore welcome the upfront requirements to outline infrastructure requirements in bids and the expectation that the funding of infrastructure through land value capture should be explored. It is vital that all tiers of local government work together to ensure that new communities are connected to and supported by high quality infrastructure.

‘As outlined in our recent report Counties and Strategic Planning: a review of current and emerging practice, county councils should not be overlooked when it comes to strategic planning. In order to deliver the 300,000 homes needed per year, planning at a strategic scale at the county level would ensure that spatial, infrastructure and economic priorities are aligned. Today’s announcement would appear to be a step in the right direction.’

The launch today signals the start of a 3-month application process, with successful garden community proposals being announced later in the New Year.

Read the Garden Communities prospectus here.


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