UK ministers have confirmed plans to build fourteen garden villages on former green belt land across the country.
Garden villages are based on the urban design by Ebenezer Howard in the 1890s, who pioneered the villages based on self-contained settlements surrounded by countryside.
These new garden villages are to be locally-led developments, as oppose to a top-down government project. “New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies,” he said.
As an attempt to counter housing shortages that have seen an increase in house prices, the villages will be “distinct new places with their own community facilities”, the government said.
Not everyone is convinced, with developers complaining about strict planning laws that outlaw development on “greenbelt” land.
Shaun Spiers, the chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said he plans to carefully examine the proposals to determine whether they were locally led and respected the green belt.
“Done well with genuine local consent, garden villages and towns can help tackle the housing crisis,” he said. “They can certainly be preferable to what is currently happening in too many parts of the country: poor quality developments plonked on the countryside, in the teeth of local opposition and in defiance of good planning principles.”
Leader of the Cornish devolution party Mebyon Kernow, Dick Cole, told The Guardian that the new villages were no more than window dressing for a controversial project.
“The government talks about it being a locally led development, but the reality is that this is only happening because it was a government top-down initiative,” he said.
“They say it is a brownfield site, but many of the houses are on fields. It has been one of those projects that seems to have a momentum of its own, despite what local people say.”
The new garden villages will be:
- Long Marston in Stratford-on-Avon
- Deenethorpe in East Northamptonshire
- Oxfordshire Cotswold in West Oxfordshire
- Culm in Mid Devon
- Welborne near Fareham in Hampshire
- West Carclaze in Cornwall
- Dunton Hills near Brentwood, Essex
- Spitalgate Heath in South Kesteven District, Lincolnshire
- Hallsmead in Knowsley, Merseyside
- Bailrigg in Lancaster
- Longcross in Runnymede and Surrey Heath
- Infinity Garden Village in South Derbyshire
- North Cheshire in Cheshire East
- St Cuthberts near Carlisle City, Cumbria