Three new garden cities will be built in the “arc of prosperity” on countryside between Oxford and Cambridge under Liberal Democrat plans.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will today publish a long-awaited prospectus which he describes as a “call to arms” for a new generation of garden cities. He will say that the new garden cities, which will each have at least 15,000 new homes, will end the “resentment” caused by decades of “ad-hoc urban sprawl” and provide a solution to the “chronic” housing shortfall.
Mr Clegg’s vision for new garden cities, which will appear in the Lib-Dem manifesto, will put pressure on David Cameron to match his commitment.
The Prime Minister has backed a new garden city on industrial land in Ebbsfleet, Kent, but the Tories have yet to make any further commitments amid concerns that garden cities in the countryside could alienate Tory voters.
Mr Clegg is today expected to say: “We have allowed ad-hoc, urban sprawl to become a default solution, and it’s a bad one, breeding local resentment while not solving the resentment while not solving the problem. Today I’m publishing a new garden cities ‘prospectus’, which calls for local areas to submit their vision for garden cities that will provide affordable homes, good schools and jobs for the next generation, while at the same time preserving the countryside.”
The prospectus invites councils to put forward proposals for new garden cities with the support of their local communities. It states that they must be “ambitious” in scale, have good transport links, and be able to draw on private funding.
By the end of August the Government will begin working on three proposals for garden cities to help remove planning red tape and secure private funding.
The potential barriers to development will be discussed by a Cabinet committee chaired by Mr Clegg. Successful schemes will be able to claim a share of the £2.4 billion that the Government has put aside for housing development.
The report says garden cities will not be “imposed” on local authorities, and that new developments will ensure “public services, green spaces and amenities are hard-wired into designs from the beginning”.