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Government commits to 21st century garden cities

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Government commits to 21st century garden cities

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Published by Nneka Opara for TCPA in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government

Leading housing and planning charity, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) strongly welcomes the Deputy Prime Minister’s call for a new generation of garden cities.

Nick Clegg’s speech at a NHBC (National Housing House-Building Council) event in London today is the latest success in the TCPA's longstanding Garden Cities campaign. It builds upon the Prime Minister's support for Garden Cities announced in March; recognition of the Garden City principles in the Government's new planning framework; and support for 'locally planned large-scale development' in the Housing Strategy launched last November 2011. 

In his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister is expected to say that we should learn from the lessons of garden cities and suburbs, which he will describe as:

“Places which offered the dynamism and opportunity of urban living, but maintained the harmony and natural beauty of country life as well, where industrial hubs, green spaces and residential areas would be carefully connected by cutting edge transport and infrastructure – everything meticulously thought through. Garden cities: the town in the country; the best of both worlds.”

He is expected to add:

“It’s time to rediscover that proud tradition of creating new places…. Places which draw on the best of British architecture and design, which have their own identity and character, which – rather than destroy the countryside, actually have a crucial role in keeping it intact. Places put together in a way that makes sense for modern British families. People who want gardens; who want to live sustainably… to be able to move easily between work and home. Garden Cities and Suburbs for the 21st Century.”

Kate Henderson, TCPA Chief Executive said:

"We welcome the Government’s clear call for action to renew our commitment to building outstanding, inclusive and resilient places that justly merit the accolade of ‘Garden Cities’.”

"Given the scale of the housing crisis facing the nation and with house-building at its lowest level since the 1920s, we simply cannot meet this need on a plot by plot basis alone. New garden cities and suburbs provide a unique opportunity to deliver much needed housing in a holistic and comprehensive way, enhancing the natural environment and providing the economies of scale to support essential infrastructure – the exact opposite to bolt-on estates.”

The Government have re-iterated their intention to hold a competition to promote a wave of large scale new communities that are ambitious and locally led. While the detail of Government support is yet to be finalised, Nick Clegg’s speech is expected to respond directly to many of the potential funding and delivery ideas raised in the recent TCPA report ‘Creating Garden Cities and Suburbs Today. For example, how we can share risk and reward between the private and public sector and allow local authorities to be more entrepreneurial.

 

Creating Garden Cities and Suburbs Today’ recommended that:

  • The Government can play a key role in laying the foundation for local action, for example by providing certainty about policy and fiscal measures in order to de-risk investment.
  •  Local authorities should consider actions such as prudential borrowing against income from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and the New Homes Bonus, with government backing. In return for greater direct financial commitment from the public sector, landowners and developers could be expected to take a longer-term, patient and reasonable approach to assessing the value of their land assets.

Kate Henderson added:

“We are currently presented with a unique opportunity to shape the future of the nation. There is no doubt that we will build new homes, but the challenge is whether we have the determination to leave future generations with a legacy of beauty and durability which truly meets the challenges of the 21st century. Partnerships between all levels of government and the private sector will be crucial to realising this ambition.”

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