Govt planning 3 new garden cities
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has announced plans for three new garden cities to be built as a solution to the UK's housing shortage.Mr Clegg issued a "call to arms for visionaries" to set out plans for new developments, as a prospectus was published inviting bids from councils.Each of the new towns will contain enough homes for 15,000 people and they will be funded through a £2.4 billion investment pot.Councils are to be asked to voice any objections they may have to the proposals and the government has stressed that local support for the projects will need to be ensured before the plans are given the go-ahead. The schemes will also require good transport links and will have to be commercially viable.Mr Clegg said: "A steady stream of governments have failed to deal with the problem. Politicians from all sides have given up trying. I'm talking about garden cities - a vision of communities where future generations will live, work, have children, grow up and grow old."We have got to do more to tackle Britain's chronic lack of housing, and to build high-quality homes in thriving new communities."The deputy prime minister criticised the "ad hoc urban sprawl" which he says has become the default solution to the nation's housing requirements.He said this solution is inadequate and often creates local resentment. Larger settlements, on the other hand, have a number of advantages over smaller developments.They can be designed with long-term local needs in mind, include good transport connections and incorporate previously developed brownfield land.Proposals that see such sites reused will be welcomed, as long as they are not of high environmental value.Government support for the projects could extend to brokerage, direct planning support and capacity funding.In the 2014 budget, chancellor George Osborne announced funding for a new garden city at Ebbsfleet in Kent, which is located just 19 minutes away from central London.Up to £200 million of infrastructure funding is being made available to kickstart the development, which will be overseen by a new urban development corporation.
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