The Town and Country Planning Association welcomes green city manifesto pledges

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has welcomed the manifesto pledges for a new generation of Garden Cities from the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, but questioned their commitment to delivering genuinely sustainable new settlements.

Kate Henderson
Kate Henderson
TCPA chief executive Kate Henderson said: "The TCPA has campaigned for a new generation of garden cities for over a century. We are now in the unique position of having manifesto commitments from the three main political parties to bring forward a new generation of garden cities."

"Garden cities provide a powerful and unique model of development, and are much more than just homes with gardens, or a political buzzword for large-scale housing estates.  We need brave political leadership in order to bring forward new garden cities, and the TCPA is keen to work with the new Government to ensure that the socially just, high quality garden cities that the nation deserves become a reality."

TCPA added that while the manifestos all pledge support for garden cities, none of them set out how these garden cities would be delivered, or how a new government would ensure that the new communities adhere to the garden city principles.

The association has set out a wider response to key points in each of the three manifestos.

The Labour manifesto states:

"…to boost the housing we need, we will start to build a new generation of garden cities."

Henderson said:

"It is positive to see that the manifesto recognises the role that a new generation of garden cities can play as part of the portfolio of solutions to addressing the nation’s housing crisis.  However the manifesto fails to include any commitment to ensuring if and how new garden cities will meet the garden city principles.

"The Lyons Review sets out a clear mandate for the delivery of garden cities, and referenced the need to make their delivery mechanism fit for purpose with the recommendation to update the New Towns Act.  The Review also recognised the need to consider the quality of new homes, particularly in regards to of the need for spacestandards, high quality design and zero carbon standards. To deliver genuine garden cities we should act on these recommendations.."

The Conservative manifesto states:

"We will support locally-led garden cities and towns in places where communities want them, such as Ebbsfleet and Bicester."

Henderson said: "While it is again encouraging to see support for bringing forward locally led garden cities, we do have reservations about the proposed measures to extend the Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants. New garden cities must adhere to all of the garden city principles including land value capture for the benefit of the community and mixed tenure homes that are genuinely affordable for ordinary people. However, the proposed extension of Right to Buy raises questions about how we can deliver outstanding places like Letchworth which include a significant amount of social housing.  The proposed extension of Right to Buy policy risks undermining the achievements of genuine mixed communities."  

The Liberal Democrat manifesto sets out plans for:

"At least ten new Garden Cities in England, in areas where there is local support, providing tens of thousands of high-quality new homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport. We will encourage rural Local Authorities to follow these principles on a smaller scale, too, developing new garden villages or suburbs as part of their plans for growth."

The Liberal Democrat manifesto also pledges:

"Up to five major new settlements along a Garden Cities Railway between Oxford and Cambridge."

Henderson said:

"Again it is positive to see the commitment to bringing forward new garden cities, and that the manifesto recognises how that the garden city principles can be a strong foundation for high quality place-making in revitalising our towns and cities and in smaller scale developments, and the importance of linking the new communities through public transport. However there is no reference to how these garden cities or development will be brought forward. The garden city principles must be upheld in their perpetuity in any proposals to deliver the new settlements." 

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