Garden cities prospectus published

Proposals for new garden cities should be 'at or above the 15,000 homes level', according to the government's long-awaited garden cities prospectus, published today.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

The document – fundamentally a call for expressions of interest from local areas keen to deliver large-scale new housing developments – was unveiled by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and communities secretary Eric Pickles.

The document says it is "essential" that new garden cities are located in areas that have good access to planned or existing transport infrastructure, and that they have the "full backing" of all local authorities responsible for any site.

While media reports earlier this year had suggested the document would recommended the construction of two major new settlements in Oxfordshire, Warkwickshire or Buckinghamshire, the new 10-page document, titled Locally-led Garden Cities, declines to mention preferred locations.

Instead, it simply states the expectation that proposals should be "at or above the 15,000 homes level" and "delivered more quickly than is typical through the existing planning system".

It also states that applications involving "a significant element" of brownfield land would be "particularly welcome".

Clegg, who has repeatedly championed the construction of garden cities in the South East, said the prospectus was "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".

Pickles said the government was "committed to working with local communities who want to build more homes in attractive and sustainable developments" and that a package of support, including contributions from the £1 billion Large Housing Sites Infrastructure Fund, would be made available for successful sites.

According to the prospectus, other funding sources include the Local Growth Fund, the Custom Build Fund, and the Builder’s Finance Fund.

It adds that expressions of interest can be submitted on  "an ongoing, rolling basis".

The full document can be read here.

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