British government reveals 17 new garden towns and villages
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British government reveals 17 new garden towns and villages

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The British government has unveiled details of ambitious plans to deliver more than 48,000 homes across England in 14 new garden villages and three new garden towns.

The decision to green light the new settlements expands on the Conservative government’s garden village initiative, revealed by former British chancellor George Osborne last year. Seven garden towns had previously been announced, and the 24 communities will together provide 200,000 new homes. Each will be a new development, rather than an extension of an existing town or village.

The Garden city model – proposing utopian communities in which residents are surrounded by greenery – was first developed by British social reformer Ebeneezer Howard in the late 19th century. Letchworth Garden City became the first such settlement in 1903, and has since inspired urban planners from around the world, including Chengdu in China.

Developers of the 14 new garden villages – which will consist of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes – will have access to a £6m (US$7.3m, €7m) funding pot over the next two financial years. According to the government, this money will be used “to unlock the full capacity of sites,” providing funding to accelerate development and avoid delays.

The three new garden towns – defined as developments of more than 10,000 homes – will be created in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Taunton in Somerset and Harlow & Gilston in Essex and Hertfordshire. A further £1.4m (US$1.7m, €1.6m) has been allocated to support their delivery.

New planning freedoms are set to be offered for all garden developments, and developers can also apply for infrastructure funding programmes, such as the £2.3bn (US$2.7bn, €2.6bn) housing Infrastructure Fund announced in the last Autumn Statement.

“New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies,” said housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell. “Locally-led garden towns and villages have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need.”

By 2020, more than 25,000 housing starts are expected in the new garden villages, towns and cities. A further call for expressions of interest may also take place in 2017 for other proposals for new garden villages.

The development of the garden city model offer many implications for leisure, as these self-contained communities are conceived to provide easy access to health and fitness facilities, large public spaces, abundant greenery and civic and cultural buildings.

The 14 new garden villages are:

• 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 are:

• Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire• Taunton, Somerset

• Harlow & Gilston, Essex and Hertfordshire

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The British government has unveiled details of ambitious plans to deliver more than 48,000 homes across England in 14 new garden villages and three new garden towns.
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