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£9m cash boost for garden community housing

Words: Laura Edgar
New towns / iStock

Housing minister Kit Malthouse has announced that £9 million will be used to speed up the building of new garden towns and villages.

The money has been split between projects already under way, including the North Essex Garden Communities and Bicester’s 2,000-home custom and self-build site in the garden town.

The funding will be administered by Homes England.

The funding has been allocated as follows:

  • Aylesbury – £420,000
  • Basingstoke – £695,000
  • Bicester – £770,000
  • Harlow & Gilston – £715,000
  • North Essex (Colchester, Tendring & Braintree) – £1,000,000
  • North Northants (Corby, Kettering & Wellingborough) –    £725,000
  • Otterpool Park, Folkestone – £1,250,000
  • Taunton – £550,000
  • Bailrigg – £100,000
  • Culm, Mid Devon – £300,000
  • Dunton Hills – £100,000
  • Halsnead – £300,000
  • Handforth – £150,000
  • Infinity, Derbyshire – £150,000
  • Longmarston – £300,000
  • Longcross – £125,000
  • West Oxfordshire – £150,000
  • Tresham – £300,000
  • Welbourne – £300,000
  • West Carclaze – £300,000
  • St Cuthbert’s, Carlisle – £300,000

Malthouse said: “This £9 million funding boost is giving councils the support and cash injection they need so they can finish planning new developments and get diggers on site.”

The garden communities project is expected to deliver 200,000 properties on large sites by 2050. The government said the latest funding would help to get 21 sites ready for development, contributing towards the cost of masterplanning and technical studies.

Three garden communities are being planned for North Essex in a collaboration between Braintree District, Tendring District, Colchester Borough and Essex County councils. It is hoped that three communities across the council areas will deliver 43,000 homes.

John Spence CBE, chairman of North Essex Garden Communities (NEGC) Ltd and Essex County Council representative on the NEGC board, explained that the funding will enable NEGC to continue the work it needs to do to bring forward new garden communities.

He said: “The partnership of councils has been very clear that housing, jobs, economic growth, skills and infrastructure are inextricably linked. The best way of achieving these aims in the long term is through the creation of purpose-built new communities.

“This is, of course, a long-term project and NEGC is undertaking the preparatory work that a traditional developer would do ahead of any large scheme coming forward. It should be welcomed that the government recognises this approach and has continued to have confidence in what is a nationally important project. Equally, we recognise the need to spend the money of national and local taxpayers carefully and responsibly.”

Will Jeffwitz, policy leader at the National Housing Federation (NHF), said: “It’s always welcome to see the government putting more money into solving the housing crisis. New garden towns and villages will play an important role in this, and housing associations will be at the heart of many of these. Spending money in a targeted way to speed up their development is worthwhile. But it will take much more than £9 million to make a dent in the 340,000 homes the country needs every year.

“To meet the desperate need for new homes, including the 90,000 social homes we need to build every year, we will need significant new government investment. Ministers must make a real commitment to invest in new homes and communities in the spending review due this year.”

Image credit | iStock