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Government pledge to support public's garden city dreams

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Government pledge to support public's garden city dreams

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities

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Image: Housing via Shutterstock

The coalition has pledged to support communities with ideas for a new generation of garden cities - and help turn them into reality.

The government has published a prospectus this week which it says will help communities work up proposals for ambitious new developments which are locally-led, include at least 15,000 homes and have the backing of existing residents.

Ministers believe such locally-led developments can play a crucial role in delivering the number of new homes the country needs, but insist that it is vital that they are not imposed from above.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Garden cities are communities where future generations will live, work, have children, grow up and grow old.

"I’m publishing a new garden cities prospectus, which calls for local areas to submit their plans for garden cities that will provide affordable homes, good schools, and jobs for the next generation, while at the same time preserving the countryside.

"This is a call to arms for visionaries in local areas in need of housing to put forward radical and ambitious proposals to develop their own garden cities."

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: "The coalition government scrapped top-down building targets, along with the last administration’s failed eco-towns programme, which built nothing but resentment.

"Instead, this government is committed to working with local communities who want to build more homes in attractive and sustainable developments where people can live and raise their families.

"Our £1 billion large housing sites infrastructure fund and package of support will help deliver locally-led developments in communities that want more growth and jobs in their area. It will also assist those areas with ideas for a new generation of garden cities, so they can turn their ambitions into reality."

Charity the Town & Country Planning Association has welcomed the government's prospectus, and believes it is a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to design new places and low carbon communities that are inclusive with genuinely affordable beautifully designed homes".

Head of policy Hugh Ellis said: “We welcome the deputy prime minister’s announcement setting out the core requirements of proposed Garden Cities, as well as the support package that the government can offer to facilitate their delivery.

"Going forward, we believe it is vital that the key principles of Garden Cities are embedded into any proposals to deliver these well designed and inclusive new communities, and not just in the South East. Garden Cities remain a viable and essential part of the solution to the country’s escalating housing crisis, and these standards will offer a guiding light for local authorities to create beautiful new places where people want to live and work.

"The Garden City Principles are designed as an indivisible and interlocking framework for the delivery of socially just and high quality places. We hope that local authorities across the country will seize the opportunity to plan for a better future by ensuring the all principles are upheld in perpetuity.”

In other garden cities news, Simon Wolfson, the founder of the Wolfson Economics Prize, this week revealed that the finalists for the 2014 Prize will be announced at a special event on 4 June 2014.

The prize asked entrants to write an essay on how they would deliver a new garden city which is "visionary, economically-viable, and popular".

There were 279 entries to the competition.

Simon Wolfson said: “I’m thrilled at the overwhelming response to the 2014 Prize competition. We have had some very promising entries and I look forward to the next stages. Garden cities are great opportunity to provide our children and grandchildren with wonderful new places to live and work. They could also be an important part of the solution to the socially divisive issue of rampant price inflation.”

Trevor Osborne, Chairman of the Judges, said: “Delivering a new garden city is an enormously complex task, spanning finance, legal, design, governance economic and environmental issues. We are hugely impressed by the entrants’ efforts to grapple with these issues and the competition is very hotly contested with a wide range of approaches. But in the end we will have to choose a small handful of finalists. The Judges are continuing their deliberations.”

The finalists will be given until 11 August to refine their submissions and resubmit for re-judging.

A decision on the overall winner, who will take home £250,000, is expected in September.

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