Government publishes consultation on Ebbsfleet garden city UDC

The government has named the chairman designate of a new urban development corporation (UDC) at Ebbsfleet in Kent as it published proposals for the area to be covered by the body and its potential planning powers.

Ebbsfleet: garden city plans to be delivered by a UDC
Ebbsfleet: garden city plans to be delivered by a UDC

In a statement this morning, the Department for Communities and Local Government said that Michael Cassidy has been appointed as chairman designate of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation.

The department said that the chairman of the City of London Property Investment Board, who has experience in a range of roles across the business and industry sectors, would "steer the development corporation, providing the focus and direction needed to deliver this ambitious development".

Alongside the appointment of Cassidy, the department has published a consultation inviting views on the geographical area in which the UDC would operate and the planning powers it would be granted.

The document says the Ebbsfleet, Northfleet and Swanscombe area "has huge potential to create not only new homes, but also a vibrant and cohesive place where people will want to live and work".

The area has been identified by the government as a location for a new garden city and the UDC would be instrumental in the delivery of this.

The consultation says the local authorities of Dartford Borough Council, Gravesham Borough Council and Kent County Council "have all been actively involved in the proposal to create a development corporation for Ebbsfleet".

The proposed area of the UDC is formed around key strategic sites. The document says the sites are located within Dartford and Gravesham Boroughs and are already identified in their core strategies and local plans.

The sites include the Eastern Quarry, Swanscombe Peninsula and Springhead Quarter.

The document says there is "one small area" of green belt land within the proposed boundary of the UDC.

It says that inclusion of this land "will not change its status as green belt land, which is defined in Dartford’s Core Strategy 2011. There are no proposals to amend the status of the land as green belt. On the contrary, the reason for including this land, which is a highly visible site forming an access point into the area within the corporation’s proposed boundary, is to allow for the improvement of open land within the site as well as to lift the quality of development already authorised through lawful development certificates or extant planning consents".

The consultation says that legislation governing UDCs does not provide for statutory plan making powers to be transferred to them. However, other planning functions, "in particular the determination of planning applications, can and will be transferred to the corporation".

"In determining any planning applications the corporation must have regard to the provisions of existing plans so far as is material to the application. Whilst the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation will therefore not have statutory plan making powers, we expect that it will work closely with the local authorities to ensure that the development of the garden city is undertaken coherently and, where appropriate, additional guidance may be produced to supplement existing development plans", it says.

The document says that, subject to Parliamentary approval, it is expected that the corporation will be established in early 2015.

The consultation will run until 6 October 2014 and can be found here.

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