New prospectus aims to help communities plan garden cities

Government guidance for locally led garden cities

The Locally-led garden cities: prospectus is designed to help communities establish proposals for ‘ambitious new developments, which are locally-led, include at least 15,000 homes and have the backing of existing residents’.

There is genuine enthusiasm and ambition for growth in communities across the country, says the Department for Communities and Local Government, but new developments must be well-designed, and bring together high-quality homes, jobs, and green spaces in communities where people want to live and raise their children.
‘We want to work closely with areas which bring forward strong expressions of interest to help them develop their proposals, understand the barriers to delivery and offer government brokerage and support through the Large Sites scheme and other existing schemes where it can help to unblock these,’ the document says.
Ministers believe these locally-led developments will play a crucial role in delivering the number of new homes the country needs, but it is vital that they are not imposed from above. Outlining in the prospectus what it means by ‘garden cities’, the DCLG notes that they offer the opportunity to plan to maintain and extend what people value most: ‘high quality design, appropriate infrastructure and accessible green space within towns and nearby’.
The government does not wish to impose any definition of what garden cities are, states the prospectus, but instead intends to work with localities to support them in developing and delivering their own vision. Localities may find it helpful to consider some of the thinking which has already been done by bodies with an interest in this area, it suggests.
‘For example, in the view of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), at the heart of the garden city concept is the development of holistically planned new settlements which enhance the natural environment, tackle climate change and provide high-quality affordable housing and locally accessible jobs in beautiful, healthy and sociable communities.’
The prospectus also in includes a number of principles set out by the TCPA ‘that localities may wish to consider’. Among these is the provision of: ‘generous green space linked to the wider natural environment, including a surrounding belt of countryside to prevent sprawl, well connected and biodiversity rich public parks, and a mix of public and private networks of well-managed, high-quality gardens, tree-lined streets and open spaces’ and ‘opportunities for residents to grow their own food, including generous allotments.’

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