Group calls for garden city commitment from ministers

A group of 50 organisations have called on the government to demonstrate its continued support for delivering new garden villages, towns and cities.

The group, which includes the County Councils’ Network (CCN) and the Town and County Planning Association (TCPA) have published a joint statement, which calls on ministers to reinstate a reference to garden city principles in the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

‘Meeting the nation’s housing needs involves more than just delivering housing units,’ the joint statement reads.

‘We need to create beautiful places which offer a wide range of employment opportunities and genuinely affordable homes, while enabling more sustainable lifestyles.

‘The garden city principles can deliver all this and are underpinned by a financial model which not only enables fast delivery but puts people at the heart of delivering new places and provides the resources for the long-term stewardship and maintenance of a high-quality public realm and high-quality community facilities,’ the statement adds.

The current NPPF requires local authorities to consider whether large-scale development is ‘the best way’ of achieving sustainable development in their area.

A commitment to the garden city principles is not set out anywhere else in government policy.

‘Meeting the nation’s housing needs involves more than just delivering housing units; we need to create beautiful places which offer a wide range of employment opportunities and genuinely affordable homes, while enabling more sustainable lifestyles,’ said TCPA chief executive, Kate Henderson.

‘The garden city principles can deliver all this and are underpinned by a financial model which not only enables fast delivery but puts people at the heart of delivering new places and provides resources for the long-term stewardship and maintenance of a high-quality public realm and high-quality community facilities.

‘Re-committing to the garden city principles in the NPPF is the starting point to unlocking a new generation of highly sustainable places that meet housing, employment and quality of life needs while promoting innovation. We recognise the prime minister’s personal commitment to building communities the nation can be proud of, and we urge the government to ensure the garden city principles are reinstated in the NPPF,’ added Ms Henderson.

County council housing project launched

The CCN and TCPA have also launched a new project to explore how county councils can help meet the growing housing crisis and deliver new homes.

The project will examine what upper tier authorities are already achieving with their current powers for a new report, which will be published in June.

The report will include a survey, a series of case studies and highlight pioneering councils who are ‘unlocking development through partnerships and direct delivery’.

The CCN’s spokesman for housing, planning and infrastructure, Philip Atkins: The housing crisis is not confined to cities and the South-East; prices in many other county areas are becoming increasingly unaffordable, with property prices rising treble the amount of house price rises in London.

‘There is also a lack of affordable homes in county areas, with just 26% of new homes built since 2011 being classified as affordable. This project will show how counties are playing a hugely important role in enabling and delivering development in their areas, working with partners and local councils to deliver the right kind of homes backed by adequate infrastructure.

Jamie Hailstone

Jamie Hailstone

journalist

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