Over recent months the Government has extended its support for the Garden Communities programme, with 5 additional Garden Towns added in March 2019 and a further 19 Garden Communities added at the end of June 2019.
Hyas have been involved in a number of the new entrants to the programme. For example, we supported Cornwall Council in the preparation of their successful bid for Threemilestone to become a Garden Village. This project has also benefitted from an award of £49m via the Housing infrastructure Fund for the implementation of a new Northern Relief Road to open up the site as part of a proactive approach by the Council to intervene and get appropriate development underway. This project is a good example of strong public leadership and a joined-up approach to consider issues with land, infrastructure funding and place-making – something we expect to see more of going forward.
In Hyas we are active with many of the sites and Local Authorities involved in the programme, including continuing support for places such as North Essex, Aylesbury, Carlisle, Harlow & Gilston and Mid Devon. Increasingly we are seeing Local Authorities considering new Garden Communities as a key part of delivering future housing needs, in recognition that continuing to incrementally grow along urban boundaries is becoming more challenging both in design terms, planning acceptability and in light of constraints to the capacity of existing settlements to accommodate further growth.
If planned well, new settlements can offer particular opportunities to embed true Garden City principles from the outset, to make beautiful places for the future where people will want to live and where value can be harnessed for investment in infrastructure and long-term stewardship.
The tools and support from Government are there for places that show ambition, with broader opportunities for places to take stronger roles with delivery where this can get things moving, such as through new approaches like locally led Development Corporations. Again we expect a few places to bring forward their ideas on delivery options over the coming year, with additional capacity support from MHCLG (to support ‘business backed’ development corporations and similar delivery bodies as referred to as part of Budget 2018) anticipated to become available soon.