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Chancellor names Ebbsfleet as new 15,000-home garden city

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Chancellor names Ebbsfleet as new 15,000-home garden city

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government

Chancellor names Ebbsfleet as new 15,000-home garden city Chancellor names Ebbsfleet as new 15,000-home garden city

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has named Ebbsfleet in Kent as the site of the UK's first new town since the 1960s.

Up to £200 million of public investment will be ploughed into the new 'garden city', providing up to 15,000 new homes on existing brownfield land.

The area has long been identified as having great development potential, but investment and progress have been stalled for decades, which is why the government wants to create a "powerful" new development body - similar to what happened in Docklands in the 1980s – to really drive and promote the area, co-ordinate investment from government and solve the issues that have held back development.

The Garden City Development Corporation will have a mandate to build spacious, attractive, high quality places to live – modelled on popular garden cities like Letchworth or Welwyn Garden City.

George Osborne’s announcement follows a report last month from think tank Centre for London, which concluded that Ebbsfleet’s excellent location and potential makes it the best site for the UK’s first new town since the 1960s.

Ben Rogers, Director of Centre for London, said: “I am delighted that the chancellor has formally announced that the coalition will be creating a new Town at Ebbsfleet, as recommended in our report Go East, published last month.

"New Towns are controversial in some circles because people fear that they will involve building on the countryside and worry that they will be car dependent. But the Ebbsfleet development is focused on an old quarry and has high-speed rail connection to London. If you are going to build new towns to help meet our housing crisis, this is the place to start."

Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds said: "The government has had four years to make progress on garden cities but instead of getting on and building them, ministers have spent their time making empty announcements and suppressing reports.

"We will wait to see the detail in the Budget, but people will want to know how today’s announcement to build 15,000 homes in Ebbsfleet differs from the announcement to build 20,000 homes in the same place in 2012.”

Tim Farron, president of the Liberal Democrats, said the announcement would "barely scratch the surface" of the 300,000 homes a year that were needed.

Sir Merrick Cockell, chair of the Local Government Association, criticised the creation of an "unelected" garden city delivery body.

He said: "Residents will be concerned that such a body, unelected and accountable to central government, could have the power to make local decisions about investment, planning, development and possibly even local transport.

"These decisions should be taken at the local level by councils working with their residents, local enterprise partnerships and other local partners."

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