Last edited 07 Feb 2021

Garden town

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) suggest, that a garden city is a ‘holistically planned new settlement which enhances the natural environment, tackles climate change and provides high quality housing and locally accessible jobs in beautiful, healthy and sociable communities’.

In April 2014, the government published the Locally-led Garden Cities prospectus which set out a broad support package for local authorities to develop locally-led garden cities, which it described as ‘…liveable, viable, modern communities with the resident at the centre of planning’.

On 7 December 2015, the Department for Communities and Local Government announced that two new ‘garden towns’ were being supported with £1.1 million funding. The proposals for Didcot in Oxfordshire and for North Essex will provide up to 50,000 new homes by 2031; 15,000 homes and 20,000 high-tech jobs in Greater Didcot Garden Town and new Garden Communities in North Essex creating up to 35,000 new homes.

The funding bid for the Greater Didcot Garden Town was prepared by the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire councils, working with the county council and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. It focusses on sustainability, green space and green connections. The bid for the larger ‘Garden Communities’ in North Essex was prepared by Colchester, Braintree and Tendring, working with Essex County Council.

The funding will allow initial work to begin to facilitate new homes, transport improvements, schools, and community amenities.

The announcement was made during a visit to Didcot by Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis. Lewis said, “I’ve been really impressed by the level of ambition and vision shown by Didcot and North Essex and their determination to deliver new sustainable communities. We are determined to support communities that are eager to boost the number of homes in their areas to meet local need and this money will help get work up and running quicker.”

Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Environment, Cllr Roger Hirst 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.”

Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said, “People right across our district will benefit from Didcot becoming a Garden Town. This will encourage jobs, better transport links, improved facilities and infrastructure for everyone.”

Other government-recognised ‘garden townprojects include; Ebbsfleet in Kent, Bicester in Oxfordshire, Basingstoke and North Northants.

It is not entirely clear what the distinction is between a ‘garden city’ a ‘garden town’ a ‘garden community’ and the previously-used term ‘eco town’.

In the 2016 budget, the government announced it would legislate to make it easier for local authorities to work together to create new garden towns, as well as consult on a second wave of Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) reforms with the objective of making the CPO process clearer, fairer and quicker. It also announced technical and financial support to areas that want to establish garden villages and market towns of between 1,500 to 10,000 homes.

In March 2016, the government published Locally-led garden villages, towns and cities a prospectus inviting expressions of interest from local authorities wanting to create new communities based on garden city principles.

In February 2019, the government announced a £9 million cash injection to speed up the locally-led building of new garden towns and villages, helping get 21 sites ready for development. Ref

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