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Government commits further £9m for new garden towns

The government has committed an extra £9m of funding to speed up the building of new garden towns and villages around the country, it announced today.

The £9m in funding will help prepare 21 sites for development as part of the government’s Garden Communities project, which is expected to deliver 200,000 properties by 2050.

It is expected that the funding, set to be administered by Homes England, will pay for master-planning and technical studies as councils look to build on large sites.

According to the government, 10,000 homes are already being built in garden towns and villages across the country with 36,000 expected to be underway or finished by 2022.

Housing minister Kit Malthouse MP said: ‘We have not built enough homes in this country for the last three decades, and we are turning that around as we work towards our target to build 300,000 properties a year by the mid-2020s.’

‘This £9m funding boost is giving councils the support and cash injection they need so they can finish planning new developments and get diggers on site.’

Among the garden towns and villages the £9m will fund is a 2,000-home site in Bicester on land the council has purchased from the Ministry of Defence.

Other developments set to benefit from the £9m pot include sites in Basingstoke, Didcot, Taunton, Harlow and Gilston, and three sites across North Northamptonshire.

The government’s Garden Communities project was announced last summer with the aim of building communities that follow ‘garden city’ principles – that is, self-contained communities surrounded by greenbelts.

To receive backing and funding for their projects, local authorities and private sector partners have had to demonstrate their commitment to these principles.

Criteria the government said they were looking for included sites that featured over 10,000 homes, had a distinct local identity and would be able to grow sustainably.

Earlier last year, 50 organisations including the County Councils Network and the Town and County Planning Association called upon the government to reinstate a reference to garden city principles into the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The reference to garden city principles had been removed when the NPPF was revised last year, the first revision the NPPF had undergone since it was first published in 2012.