New garden villages to generate 48,000 homes

The world's first garden city at Letchworth in Hertfordshire.

The government has announced the locations for a series of garden village schemes and three larger towns around the country.

The first ever garden villages of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes could deliver more than 48,000 homes. The sites, which include 14 new garden villages, located from Devon to Cumbria, will have access to a £6m fund over the next two financial years to support the delivery of the new projects.

The £6m will be used to unlock the full capacity of sites, providing funding for additional resources and expertise to accelerate development and avoid delays. The government has also announced its support for three new garden towns in Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow & Gilston together with a £1.4m of funding to support their delivery.

Together with the seven garden towns already announced, these 17 new garden settlements have the combined potential to provide almost 200,000 new homes across the country, said the housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell. “Locally-led garden towns and villages have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need,” said Barwell. “New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies. These places combined could provide almost 200,000 homes,” he said.

The 14 new garden villages

  • 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

The three new garden towns

  • Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
  • Taunton, Somerset
  • Harlow & Gilston, Essex and Hertfordshire

In addition to the £6m funding, the government will provide support in terms of expertise, brokerage and offer of new planning freedoms. Due to the high level of expressions of interest submitted in July 2016, the government has made an additional £1m available this year for further development of other garden village proposals.

The government is considering running a further call for expressions of interest in 2017 for other places with proposals for new garden villages. A garden town is a development of more than 10,000 homes. Garden villages are smaller settlements of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes.

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 across government, such as the new £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

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Given that the website states that some 300,000 new homes are needed annually, the 25,000 housing starts by 2020 cannot be seen as a solution to the UK's housing shortage. Further, the locations of the proposed Garden Villages do not seem to have any clear relationship to where new homes are needed most urgently, particularly in South East England. Some more radical planning is needed to show how greater numbers of new housing can be delivered where people need them most including having suitable access to public transport to avoid dependency on private car use.