Leeds Property: Garden cities ‘too little, too late’

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Building more homes has long been seen as one of the ways to help stabilise the rental market, which at the moment makes it comparative to having a mortgage.

In recent years, the National Housing Federation has called on the Government to do more in this area and it looks like they may be about to, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agenty.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has launched the Government’s prospectus on garden cities, to help communities work up proposals that are locally-led, include at least 15,000 homes and have the backing of existing residents.

The Government will then work with those communities “which bring forward strong expressions of interest to help them develop their proposals”.

Commenting, Mr Clegg said:

“Garden cities are communities where future generations will live, work, have children, grow up and grow old.

“Today I’m publishing a new garden cities prospectus, which calls for local areas to submit their plans for garden cities that will provide affordable homes, good schools, and jobs for the next generation, while at the same time preserving the countryside.

“This is a call to arms for visionaries in local areas in need of housing to put forward radical and ambitious proposals to develop their own garden cities.”

Responding to the publication of the Garden Cities Prospectus, Shadow Communities Secretary Hilary Benn MP was critical and said: “After four wasted years of empty and over-hyped announcements on garden cities it is only now that ministers have got around to inviting bids for development.

“This Tory-led Government has presided over the lowest levels of house building in peacetime since the 1920s and the publication of this long-delayed document is far too little, too late.

“Ministers’ failure to take the real action needed to tackle the housing crisis will mean that home ownership remains out of reach of many low and middle-income earners, rents will continue to rise and waiting lists will grow ever longer.

“Labour is clear that you can’t deal with the cost-of-living crisis without building more homes, which is why Labour has committed to getting at least 200,000 homes a year built by 2020, including by building a new generation of new towns and garden cities.”

Deputy Prime Minister the Rt Hon Nick Clegg and Local Governmnent minister the Rt Hon Eric Pickles said in a foreword to the project: “Local people know what is best for their areas. We know that in many areas, people want to be ambitious and innovative in their approach to delivering the homes they need. We want to support that ambition, and importantly, we want to encourage them to go even further.

“New development at new settlement scale can offer a great opportunity to build in quality from the start in terms of design, open space, homes and jobs that make places great to live in. The Locally Led Garden Cities prospectus sets out a broad support package that Government will offer localities which are ambitious in terms of scale and delivery, and set high standards for design, quality and the provision of green pace. We want to encourage people to think in a new way about how they can meet their housing needs. Building on the historical Garden Cities concept, and a legacy of new town development we can be rightly proud of, we want to support localities.”

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