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Government plans for new garden towns and villages: CPRE's reaction

2 January 2017

The Government has today announced plans to create 14 new garden villages in England, of between 1,500 to 10,000 houses. It has also announced support for three new garden towns in Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow & Gilston. These garden towns and villages will be distinct new settlemtents, rather than extensions to existing urban areas.   

 

Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, comments:

"CPRE welcomes efforts to tackle the housing crisis in the form of high quality, well-planned and well-located developments. Done well with genuine local consent, garden villages and garden towns can be part of the solution and certainly preferable to what is currently happening in too many parts of the country - poor quality new estates plonked down on the edge of villages and market towns, in the teeth of local opposition and in defiance of good planning principles.

"But CPRE will look closely at these specific proposals to ensure that they really are locally led; that they respect the Green Belt and other planning designations; and that they meet housing need, particularly the need for genuinely affordable housing for local people, and are not driven by over-ambitious, centrally dictated housing targets.

"Where communities support new settlements, they should be protected from speculative planning applications for a long time to come."

 

Gilston village, and neighbouring hamlet Eastwick, would entirely disappear in the proposals of the East Herts local plan. The council has applied for Government funding for a new garden town of 10,000 houses that would act as an extension to Harlow and swallow these two settlements, with a current parish population of 228.

Kevin FitzGerald, honorary director of CPRE Hertfordshire, says:

"These plans herald the death knell of the rural character of whole swathes of Hertfordshire. Beautiful villages, supposedly protected by Green Belt, look set to be swallowed up by the urban sprawl of neighbouring towns. Housing targets are putting immense pressure on our area, and marginalising the basic purposes of the Green Belt which the Government has pledged to protect."

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