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Government reveals plans for garden city in Kent

Chancellor George Osborne has revealed plans for a new garden city designed to boost the rate of housebuilding and provide much-needed homes in an area of high demand.The new development is to be located at Ebbsfleet in Kent, where 15,000 new homes will be constructed. Some £200 million is to be allocated to finance the project, which will be carried out under the guidance of an urban development corporation.Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Osborne said the site had been chosen because it already has good infrastructure connections and is located in an area of high demand."[In] Ebbsfleet there is the land available, there is fantastic infrastructure, with a high-speed line. It's on the river, it's in the south-east of England, where a lot of the housing pressure has been, and, crucially, we've got local communities and local MPs who support the idea," he commented.The existing high-speed rail link means the new development will be within 19 minutes of London.While Ebbsfleet was identified as a potential location for a new development more than a decade ago, progress on the site has been slow. Only 150 homes have been constructed to date.Independent think tank Centre for London last month published a review led by Labour peer Andrew Adonis calling for a new town to be built at Ebbsfleet.The chancellor's political opponents were sceptical of the new proposals, however. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls described the plans as "too little, too late".He said the chancellor had merely re-announced an old policy and claimed he ought to do more.Mr Osborne also announced an extension of the Help to Buy equity loan initiative until 2020. An extra £6 billion will be used to fund the construction of 120,000 homes.Garden cities were originally proposed in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard. They were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by "greenbelts", with proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture. 

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