DCLG announces funding to progress Essex and Oxfordshire 'garden towns' plan

The government has announced funding to progress work on new 'garden towns' in Oxfordshire and Essex which it claims would together provide up to 50,000 new homes.

Didcot: garden town plan
Didcot: garden town plan

In a statement yesterday, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said that £1.1 million would be made available to progress plans for "an additional 15,000 homes by 2031 in Greater Didcot Garden Town and new Garden Communities in North Essex with up to 35,000 new homes."

The DCLG said that the money would "fund initial work that will enable high quality homes, new transport improvements, good schools, jobs and community amenities to be delivered in a strategic and sustainable way."

A joint statement issued by Vale of White Horse Council and South Oxfordshire councils said the local authorities had worked with Oxfordshire County Council and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership to put together its bid for Garden Town status for Didcot.

The councils said that the Garden Town would "bring forward new mixed neighbourhoods of between 200 and 3,000 homes, which will have a strong focus on sustainability and green space and be linked through a series of green connections."

According to DCLG, the Essex local authorities involved are Colchester Borough Council, Braintree District Council, Tendring District Council who are working with Essex County Council.

The £1.1m is split between the two - £640,000 to North Essex and £470,000 to Didcot, DCLG said.

Roger Hirst, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for transport, planning and environment, said: "We are very pleased to be working in partnership with the three local authorities to find ways to deliver the homes we need and the jobs and infrastructure which must come with them.

"The advantage of Garden Community development is that we can ensure the right provision of schools, healthcare and transport infrastructure will be in place from the start, and we welcome the opportunity to explore this fully."

Ebbsfleet in Kent and Bicester in Oxfordshire received the title of Garden Towns last year.

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