Garden villages 'will ease housing crisis'

England's first ever garden villages will help to ease the country's housing crisis, says the government.

Garden villages are settlements of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes. The location of the first 14 garden villages was announced by the government on Monday (2 January).

The new garden villages – from Devon to Derbyshire, Cornwall to Cumbria – will have the potential to deliver more than 48,000 homes.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the settlements would continue its commitment to support locally-led development.

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The garden villages will have access to a £6 million fund over the next two financial years to help speed up development and avoid delays.

Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell said: "Locally-led garden towns and villages have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need.

The government also announced today support for three new garden towns in Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow & Gilston – and a further £1.4m of funding to support their delivery.

Together with the 7 garden towns already announced, these 17 new garden settlements have the combined potential to provide almost 200,000 new homes across the country.

Mr Barwell said: "New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies."

The new garden villages and towns will be distinct new places with their own community facilities, rather than extensions to existing urban areas.

The 14 new garden villages are:

* Long Marston in Stratford-on-Avon
* Oxfordshire Cotswold in West Oxfordshire
* Deenethorpe in East Northants
* Culm in Mid Devon
* Welborne near Fareham in Hampshire
* West Carclaze in Cornwall
* Dunton Hills near Brentwood, Essex
* Spitalgate Heath in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
* Halsnead in Knowsley, Merseyside
* Longcross in Runnymede and Surrey Heath
* Bailrigg in Lancaster
* Infinity Garden Village in South Derbyshire and Derby City area
* St Cuthberts near Carlisle City, Cumbria
* North Cheshire in Cheshire East

In addition to funding, the government will provide support in terms of expertise, brokerage and offer of new planning freedoms.

Rural campaigners gave the news a cautious welcome.

Campaign to Protect Rural England chief executive Shaun Spiers said he welcomed efforts to tackle the housing crisis in the form of high quality, well-planned and well-located developments.

"Done well with genuine local consent, garden villages and garden towns can be part of the solution and certainly preferable to what is currently happening in too many parts of the country."

Too many "poor quality new estates" were being "plonked down on the edge of villages and market towns, in the teeth of local opposition and in defiance of good planning principles".

CPRE would look closely at the proposals to ensure they really were locally led, said Mr Spiers.

It was important they respected the Green Belt and other planning designations; and that they met housing need, particularly the need for genuinely affordable housing for local people.

"Where communities support new settlements, they should be protected from speculative planning applications for a long time to come."

Due to the high level of expressions of interest submitted in July 2016, the government has made an additional £1m available for further development of other garden village proposals.

The government may run a further call for expressions of interest in 2017 for other places with proposals for new garden villages.

By 2020, more than 25,000 housing starts are expected in garden villages, towns and cities supported by the government.

Homes are already being built in several locations, including Bicester, Basingstoke, Didcot, Ebbsfleet, Aylesbury, Taunton and North Northants.

The new garden projects will also have access to infrastructure funding programmes, including the government's new £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund.


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