Kit Malthouse talking 22nd Nov
The government had received 100 applications for new garden communities, equating to half a million new homes. This was “an extraordinary signal”, he said, that local authorities “are willing to embrace ideas of greater capacity and design.
Thats an average of 5,000 each. I personally was involved in two bids totalling 135,000 homes. So that means the vast majority of bids were well under 5,000, despite the very strong preference in the prospectus for sites of 10,000+ homes capable of supporting a secondary school and town level services. Given some were large most would have had to have been very small to produce that average.
Overall its less than two years supply. Given that in terms of new settlements we are talking to a horizon of 2050 and beyond thats probably less than a third of the total garden community housing we need over this period to plug the gap, if we are to avoid endless sprawl in poorly located suburban and village sites.
What does this mean? Lots of strategic growth location that would have come forward anyway dressed up as garden communities, and most likely garden suburbs.
Little appetite so far for putting hard numbers on larger sites, why because may will come froward as part of strategic plans – new style JSPs- in the corridor which have yet to consult on, such as the CAMKOX corridor, some such as in South Essex will be in Green Belt, and publicising these in advance of plans would be disastrous
What it shows is that the government despite warming to the idea of strategic planning, is moving too slowly and too tentatively to provide a supportive framework for studying and developing Garden Towns and Garden Cities. All the risk lies with local authorities and few have the resources to develop the regional or national scale transport infrastructure that would make Garden Communities work.