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Ministers publish new garden settlement prospectus

Published: Thursday, 23rd June 2016

Further guidance published for the government's Locally-Led Garden Villages, Towns and Cities scheme stressing the importance of community support for proposals…

The government has published its prospectus for a new wave of garden settlements. Ministers are stressing that these new garden villages and towns must be locally led, must provide for ‘starter homes’ and must establish “a clear and distinct sense of identity”.

The prospectus emphasised that the government is not looking to support places “which merely use ‘garden’ as a convenient label”.

It added: “We do not want to impose a set of development principles on local areas. But we will want to see evidence of attractive, well designed places with local support”.

The first part of the prospectus has invited expressions of interest by the end of next month for new garden villages of between 1,500 and 10,000 new homes. At this stage ministers are expecting to support up to 12 proposals.

Ministers are also looking for interest in new garden towns and cities of more than 10,000 new homes. Ministers have said for such large new settlements “it will be desirable for the Local Enterprise Partnership to be supportive”.

The prospectus said that in exchange for guaranteed housing delivery, ministers will consider delivering “planning freedoms” including ensuring there is greater ability to resist speculative residential planning applications and to continue to protect the green belt.

The government has promised a tailored package of support including a limited amount of funding over the next two years.

It has also committed to updating the New Towns Act 1981 to ensure there is a fit for purpose vehicle for the delivery of new garden villages.

Ministers have already supported proposals for new garden communities in Bicester, Didcot, Ebbsfleet, North Essex and North Northamptonshire. Together these have the potential to deliver over 100,000 new homes.

View the policy paper

Roger Milne