Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has pledged advice and funding for locally-led housing developments that reflect the local character and include significant green space.

The Government has launched a new programme to encourage the development of more garden communities.

Launching the initiative, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire described garden communities as new villages, towns or cities that have the potential to create homes that reflect the local character and significant green space.

Projects range in size from 10,000 to 40,000 homes, with a garden town considered to be a development of more than 10,000 homes, while garden villages are smaller settlements of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes.

Councils in England and private developers can apply for a place on the programme, which offers tailored advice and potential grant funding for help with staffing or environmental assessments.

According to the prospectus put forward by the Government, the programme is "a call to developers, investors, local authorities and local enterprise partnerships to build communities with local character, good employment opportunities, strong services, integrated and accessible transport, innovative uses of technology – and beautiful green spaces".

Brokenshire said: "This plan is about the Government working with councils and developers to get great homes in keeping with beautiful areas in England.

“We want to help local authorities build strong and vibrant communities where people want to live, work, and raise families.”

Why is it happening?

The garden towns push in England is part of the Government’s goal to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

Last year 217,000 homes were built, marking the biggest increase in housing supply in England for almost a decade, the Government said.

Above: A three-bedroom detached house that was among the earliest homes built in Letchworth Garden City. It's up for sale at £895,000 with Charter Whyman

What’s the background?

There are already 23 locally-led garden communities receiving funding support, with the potential to deliver over 200,000 homes by 2050. They include a scheme at Ebbsfleet in Kent which will deliver 15,000 new homes.

Other planned garden communities include the 600-acre former Deenethorpe airfield near Corby, Northamptonshire, and an eco village in West Carclaze, Cornwall.

The concept of garden cities originated with Ebenezer Howard, who created the first examples with Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City.

Applications for a place on the new programme opened today, and successful bidders will be unveiled in the New Year.

Top takeaways

  • The Government has unveiled a new programme to support the development of more garden communities

  • There are already 23 garden communities receiving funding to create more than 200,000 homes by 2050

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