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Govt 'could compensate those affected by garden cities'

A compensation scheme could be set up for homeowners whose properties are devalued by the construction of garden cities.Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said the government could offer council tax cuts or purchase homes affected by the new developments.He said he did not want communities to "lose out" as a result of the decision to build garden cities to alleviate the nation's housing shortage."We are actively looking at things like that to show that we will go the extra mile to allay those concerns of people who feel that their property or the price of their home might be affected," he told the BBC's Countryfile programme.The coalition plans to construct three new garden cities, each containing around 15,000 homes. It is thought that two of the developments are planned for the south-east, where demand for housing is greatest.Mr Clegg said the government could offer the full market price for a home that stands to lose value due to construction work, pointing out that this is standard practice for large-scale infrastructure projects.Housing minister Brandon Lewis described Mr Clegg's proposals as an "interesting contribution" to the debate. "The bidding process is still open for communities with proposals for ambitious, locally-led developments that have the backing of existing residents," Mr Lewis said.In April, the deputy prime minister issued "a call to arms for visionaries" as he set out plans for new garden cities, which are to be funded through a £2.4 billion investment pot.The government has stressed that local support for the projects will need to be secured before they are given the go-ahead and councils have been asked to make clear any objections to developments in their area.In the 2014 budget, chancellor George Osborne announced funding for a new garden city at Ebbsfleet in Kent, which is located less than 20 minutes away from central London. Construction work is to be overseen by an urban development corporation. 

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