The housing plan to beat Nimbyism: Garden villages promise 50,000 homes, but what are they and would you welcome one near you?
- Fourteen new 'garden villages' of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes backed
- They will be built across the country, from Cornwall to Cumbria
- Three new garden towns, in Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow & Gilston
Fourteen new 'garden villages' - which will appear from Cornwall to Cumbria with between 1,500 and 10,000 new homes - have been backed by the Government.
It will mean almost 50,000 extra new homes being built in Britain, which is a welcome (if small) step towards addressing Britain's housing shortage, particularly for first-time buyers.
But what if the properties are being built in your local area? We explain the idea behind the garden village and town concept and look at some of the garden cities built in last century and how they have fared.
The Government has backed the development of 14 new 'garden villages' that will appear in locations from Cornwall to Cumbria and each contain between 1,500 and 10,000 new homes
Existing garden cities include Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, which was founded in the 1920s to combine the benefits of the city and countryside
What has the Government announced?
The Government is backing 17 locations, with a £6million fund to support the 14 new garden villages and an additional £1.4million for three new garden towns in Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow & Gilston.
The idea is that these will produce pleasant, sustainable places to live, backed by the infrastructure that is needed.
Yet, some critics claim that the garden village idea is merely a label being stuck on to try to push through developments - and not all the neighbours of these locations are happy.
Local communities will have the opportunity to voice their objections and experts suggest that concerns about over-development and a lack of new infrastructure may mean the projects never get past the planning stage - despite the Government's support.
What is a 'garden village'?
The projects are based on the concept of garden towns and cities which are developments of at least 10,000 homes.
The so-called 'garden villages' will be - as their name suggests - much smaller projects of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes.
WHERE ARE THE NEW GARDEN VILLAGES?
· Long Marston in Stratford-on-Avon
· Oxfordshire Cotswold in West Oxfordshire
· Deenethorpe in East Northants
· Culm in Mid Devon
· Welborne near Fareham in Hampshire
· West Carclaze in Cornwall
· Dunton Hills near Brentwood, Essex
· Spitalgate Heath in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
· Halsnead in Knowsley, Merseyside
· Longcross in Runnymede and Surrey Heath
· Bailrigg in Lancaster
· Infinity Garden Village in South Derbyshire and Derby City area
· St Cuthberts near Carlisle City, Cumbria
· North Cheshire in Cheshire East
What is their philosophy?
Garden cities evolved after social reformer Ebenezer Howard sought an alternative to industrial slums at the beginning of the 20th century.
The aim was to create self-contained communities that were surrounded by green land and contained areas of housing, industry and agriculture.
It led to the generous public spaces and leafy avenues of Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City.
They were in contrast to garden suburbs that were being built on the outskirts of large cities with no sections of industry and reliant on transport so that workers could commute to a city.
Are existing garden cities still in demand?
The two Hertfordshire garden cities - Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City - continue to provide an out-of-town alternative to buyers, offering good transport connections to motorways and railway services into London.
Homes in the area are certainly in demand, with the average price of a home in Letchworth reaching £373,000 having risen £40,000 during the past year, according to property website Zoopla.
At the same time, average values in Welwyn Garden City stand at £406,000, having climbed £28,000 during the past year.
They are popular not just with local people but also with families moving out of London, looking for more spacious homes, gardens and surrounding green space - and that all important half-hour to an hour commute into London.
Both offer a cheaper option, particularly for first-time buyers, who are faced with an average house price of £650,000 in London.
Housing includes neo-Georgian detached homes and and cottages on wide, tree-lined boulevards, along with some modern houses. The most in-demand properties are those built in red-brick-style.
An established garden city (pictured): The ornamental gardens looking towards the Howard Centre, a shopping centre in Welwyn Garden City
What new garden towns have already been announced?
Several new garden towns have already been announced, with homes being built in Bicester, Basingstoke, Didcot, Otterpool Park in Kent, Ebbsfleet, Aylesbury, Taunton and North Northants.
Letchworth in Hertfordshire was the first ever garden city to be built, based on principles outlined by the social reformer Ebenezer Howard
How will this affect me if I live nearby and how can I find out more about the plans?
If you live near one of the proposed sites, you can find more information about the plans by taking a look at the area's local authority website to find out exactly how it will be developed.
The most common concerns with any large scale development tend to be about thousands of homes being built without accompanying infrastructure, such as schools and additional traffic measures.
There may also be issues around the extend of the building works and over-development of an area.
If you want to find out more, those living next to the site of a big development are likely to be approached by developers to ensure that there are things that are included that they will like. Find out about these meetings and attend them.
At the Ebbsfleet site in Kent, where 15,000 homes are being built over the next 15 years, developers did just that and engaged with local people to discuss their concerns.
Mark Templeton, of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, explained: 'We have actively engaged with local communities who welcome development here as the area is a brownfield site and has been dormant for years.
'There's lots happening here with hundreds of new homes being built as well as a new primary school opening in September, plus we've just been given Government approval for a vital bit of infrastructure - a £12million new bridge which work will start on in June.'
The aim of garden cities such as Letchworth (pictured) was to create self-contained communities that contained areas of housing, industry and agriculture.
What do you need to look out for in the plans?
Gwyn Roberts, head of the Home Quality Mark - a national standard for new homes - urged residents to be active if a development is being built in their area, saying: 'Get involved in the planning process by going online and viewing the plans on your local authority's site.'
With regard to transport, he suggested residents find out about what type of buses will be used around the new development and the frequency of the service. Similar types of questions can be raised around other types of infrastructure such schools, medical facilities and shops.
There may also be information about sustainable transport measures in the plans, such as off-road cycle paths, car clubs and electric car charging points.
Mr Roberts said: 'Improved alternative transport not only helps to reduce the likely impact upon existing roads, but it also helps with the potential health impacts of air pollution.'
He also recommended looking out for certifications - such as the Home Quality Mark - which aim to reassure local communities by setting out key criteria for developers.
The certification will not be given if the developers have not looked in depth atthe infrastructure.
A site in Oxfordshire West at Oxfordshire Costwold has been backed by the Government for a new garden village
A new garden village will also be developed at a site in Stratford-on-Avon
Could concerns about the development of the new garden towns and villages stop them from going ahead ?
Any questions about the plans can be raised with the site's local authority and could, ultimately, affect the planning process.
It is highly likely that each of these developments will draw a large number of comments from people who live nearby.
Some will support it, whereas others will object. Some of their concerns may be very valid, especially in areas where people feel that the infrastructure is already creaking, with hospitals closed, school places in short supply and roads and trains full.
Other objections may simply fall into the bracket of people objecting because they don't want any development near them
Russell Quirk, the chief executive of estate agent eMoov, had some strong words on the subject.
He said: 'What we will no doubt now see are objections from each local populace on the grounds of over-development, unsustainable traffic, not enough doctors or dentist surgeries, noise and air pollution and the blighting of our green and pleasant land.
'But frankly, these 'Middle-England anarchists' need to suck it up and move aside as those that live in glass houses, so to speak, should not be so narrow-minded nor so hypocritical as to prevent others enjoying the same comforts as they do.'
When it comes to the garden towns and villages being planned and built, it's highly likely that many people with valid concerns over their local infrastructure and area would not take too kindly to this kind of sentiment.
Controversy is likely to follow the garden village plan for many years.
The comments below have not been moderated.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.