Garden cities charity TCPA welcomes Government prospectus

The charity which has campaigned for garden cities for more than a century has welcomed the Government's launch of its garden cities prospectus and announced a conference to discuss the principles in detail.

The Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA) established by the founder of the Garden City movement Ebenezer Howard as the Garden Cities Association in 1899 has called the 10-page prospectus a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to design new places" which are economically-viable low carbon communities, are inclusive, with "genuinely affordable beautifully designed homes" and which have local jobs and schools, integrated transport systems and "high standards of green infrastructure."

Crucially the Government has outlined the benefits of using the land-value capture system, where part of the increasing value of the land is put into trust to pay for future maintenance and projects.

The document – Locally-led garden cities: prospectus was revealed this week in a joint launch by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles. It calls for local "visionaries" to submit plans for garden cities to include affordable homes, good schools, and jobs for the next generation, while at the same time preserving the countryside.

It lists the garden city principals as established by Howard and updated by the TCPA in its 2009 manifesto Towns and Countryside for a New Age of Challenge and makes a clear reference to parks, open space and good landscape.

TCPA head of policy Hugh Ellis said: "We welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement setting out the core requirements of proposed Garden Cities, as well as the support package that the Government can offer to facilitate their delivery. Going forward, we believe it is vital that the key principles of garden cities are embedded into any proposals to deliver these well designed and inclusive new communities, and not just in the South East.

"Garden cities remain a viable and essential part of the solution to the country’s escalating housing crisis, and these standards will offer a guiding light for local authorities to create beautiful new places where people want to live and work. 

"The garden city principles are designed as an indivisible and interlocking framework for the delivery of socially just and high quality places. We hope that local authorities across the country will seize the opportunity to plan for a better future by ensuring the all principles are upheld in perpetuity."

To assist councils, the TCPA is holding a conference in central London on May 15, to discuss those principals in detail and explore how they can be applied on a local level. It then intends to publish a guide aimed at councils, the private sector and communities: Garden Cities Today: a Practical Guide on Standards on June 2.

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