Minister announces £1m garden cities fund at Alconbury Weald

12/10/2016

Councils planning garden villages for their communities will receive £1million extra funding as part of the Government’s action to tackle the housing deficit, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell announced at the Garden Villages conference in Alconbury Weald, near Cambridge, today (Thursday 13 October) . 

To meet high levels of interest, the Government is widening the garden village support scheme to more places with plans for smaller garden villages between 1,500 and 10,000 homes.  The Government funding will help councils progress their plans to deliver tens of thousands of housing ‘starts’ in garden villages.  Speaking today at the event – which was organised by DCLG and the Homes and Communities Agency - Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said:  “We want to ensure everyone has an affordable place to live and that means we’ve got to build more homes in the places people want to live.  

“This additional money for garden villages could help us do just that and I’d urge Councils to apply for the support to help accelerate their plans.”

“Seeing first-hand the investment in landscape infrastructure and place making which the developers of Alconbury Weald are making, shows very clearly the difference it can make when building a new community.”

Supporting Garden Communities more widely

New garden communities have the qualities that people value most, such as good quality design, gardens, green spaces and nearby facilities, and the government is committed to supporting them.  

It has previously announced support for the development of new garden towns and larger communities at Bicester, Didcot, Basingstoke, North Essex and North Northamptonshire. 

There have been 51 expressions of interest received from councils for the garden villages support scheme for the initial funding. 

The additional £1million means the funding pot now stands at £7million.  

The package of support from government to local authorities for locally-led garden settlements includes the offer of resource funding, expertise and a commitment to new planning freedoms for places that are successful.

Robin Butler, Managing Director of Urban&Civic, Alconbury Weald’s owners and developers said:

“Our approach to strategic developments draws strongly on the principles of Garden Settlements.   From vision and master planning, through early delivery and on to long term management we have put landscape, setting and community at the heart of our approach. At Alconbury Weald, our neighbors helped us plant 2,500 trees as some of the earliest infrastructure we delivered on site; and this first phase of works has seen an investment of over 20,000 landscaping hours deliver the first public green spaces together with the connecting corridors which help people and nature get about safely. 

Great landscape is an early investment that grows with the delivery of a strategic site and the pay back, in the type of place we are creating and the substantial house sales generated, is already clear”.

Alconbury Weald sees its first new residents moving in next week and already has the first of four schools open.  Ermine Street Church Academy hosted the conference and delegates were impressed with its innovative Y-shaped design which creates three distinctive wings for the different key stages.

Hopkins Homes recently opened its new showroom and have already reserved nearly 40 new homes off plan.  Redrow plc and Morris Homes are due to join them and start marketing in the spring of 2017.