Thomas Bridge 02 December 2014

New garden city planned for South East

A new garden city in Oxfordshire is expected to be a central part of the Government’s bid to raise housing numbers in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement.

Plans for a new development in Bicester containing 13,000 homes are due to be funded with almost £100m of public spending and loans, as ministers continue to build momentum behind garden city developments.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said he hoped the new development would be the first in ‘another wave of garden cities in this country’.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in March £200m of funding to support a 15,000 home garden city development in Ebbsfleet, Kent.

Yet Labour today claimed the Coalition had ‘failed to make any meaningful progress on garden cities’, with thousands of families and young people still ‘locked out’ of the housing market.

Plans to be outlined in the national infrastructure plan tomorrow are expected to see the new settlement in Bicester constructed on brownfield land, thought to belong to the Ministry of Defence.

Loans will also be offered to developers who will design the site along garden city principles that combine town and country living through green spaces and parks.

Clegg told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The Liberal Democrats have long argued that garden cities are an idea whose time has come again.

‘This is a significant victory for the approach championed by the Coalition Government — where local areas put their hand up and say we want to become a garden city or garden town.’

‘Bicester will get help from the Government with both significant capital investment and in helping developers build the amenities that are required to be a true garden town.

‘I hope many other towns will follow Bicester’s lead and we will see more garden cities spring up that have the affordable, well-designed homes with proper transport links, services and amenities which our young families want and need,’ he added.

Labour’s shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds, said: ‘This Government has presided over the lowest levels of house building in peacetime since the 1920s and has failed to make any meaningful progress on Garden Cities - instead of getting on and building them Ministers have spent nearly five years making empty announcements. The Tories and the Lib Dems have no plan to tackle the housing crisis.’

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