Garden Communities Prospectus Gets The Green Light From Planners

Planners respond to the announcement of the garden communities programme, which will see more better quality homes being built and garden spaces created.

The TCPA (Town and Country Planning Association) has welcomed the government’s renewed support for creating better-quality new communities, set out in the Garden Communities prospectus.

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the TCPA, said: “The Garden Communities prospectus illustrates the government’s commitment to the opportunities provided by creating large-scale, sustainable new communities.

“The prospectus presents an exciting opportunity for councils to think strategically about the most sustainable long-term growth options for their local areas and to come forward with proposals for high-quality new garden communities.

“We particularly welcome the inclusion of garden city principles in the prospectus, and we urge local authorities pursuing this approach to adopt the principles as a framework, enabling the creation of genuinely affordable, inclusive, high-quality and climate-resilient new communities with the highest environmental standards.”

The prospectus sets out the government’s offer of assistance to councils, including resource funding, guidance from Homes England and cross-government brokerage to resolve barriers to delivery. However, at this stage, the government has not announced a funding package.

Henderson, added: “We hope the government will properly invest in this programme over the long-term to enable the creation of places which truly meet the ambitions of the garden city movement.

“The autumn budget is an opportunity for the government to be bold and brave in its commitment to unlocking the delivery of new garden communities and must ensure that the locations which are supported are truly exemplar.”

Victoria Hills MRTPI, Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, said: “The Government’s garden towns programme is critical to solving the housing crisis and creating quality and healthy living places that so many of us desire and need. It is clear from our research that piecemeal incremental developments alone will not meet the demand for new quality homes.

“However, delivering large-scale development requires strategic leadership, skills and approaches that are likely to be unfamiliar to many local authorities. It is vital that planning teams are properly resourced to deliver at a more strategic level.

“We have seen too many large developments in the wrong place with no proper strategic planning and consideration for quality design, jobs, infrastructure and amenities. Central and local government must put proactive planning at the centre if they are serious about making a success of developing new garden villages and housing at scale.”

Matt Thomson, Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “New emphasis on brownfield and transformational regeneration in the government’s latest garden communities prospectus is welcome, but would be better placed if support for such schemes were prioritised.

“As a whole, though, the prospectus is another example of the ‘garden’ soubriquet being applied to even more random development proposals, which all seem to lead to low-density, car-dependent, residential-led sprawl.

“Even the revised NPPF recognises the importance of using what limited land we have more efficiently. We need to ask whether ‘homes with gardens’ are compatible with the achievement of sustainable, walkable communities, and we need to get the efficient use of land back onto the Garden Cities agenda.”


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