Russell Quirk, our CEO and former elected councillor and Planning Committee Chairman, took to the air on LBC yesterday to welcome the Government’s support of the creation of 14 new Garden Villages across England.
The Department of Communities and Local Government announced that they will support the venture, which should see the addition of 48,000 much-needed homes across the nation.
The locations scheduled for development are:
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
These are in addition to the four Garden Towns that the DCLG announced a while back and that a further three new towns will be added to in Aylesbury; Taunton and Harlow.
An allocation of funding has also been pledged to help facilitate these sites and to bring about the swift implementation of 25,000 of the total 200,000 homes being started as soon as 2020.
I’ve been a pretty ballsy critic of this and previous Governments in that they have successively failed to deliver adequate new housing to meet demand and consequently we are faced with a deficit of new homes to the tune of around 100,000 each year. So, this latest announcement is very welcome indeed and is something that I support wholeheartedly.
The problem for Government is that despite their best intentions in laying the foundations for more homes with this announcement, many of these schemes will fail at the local planning stage as not everyone will be so accommodating of these plans. Those that live nearby to them for example, otherwise known as NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard).
What we will no doubt now see are objections from each local populace on the grounds of overdevelopment, 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 realise that those in glass houses, so to speak, should not be so unsympathetic as to prevent others enjoying the same comforts as they
The consequence then of such a head in the sand, ‘no not here’ attitude is that our kids and their kids will struggle to own a home. In the meantime, house prices will continue skywards as we continue to deny our offspring the right to buy.
So, whilst I am an ultimate democrat when emotions and politics get in the way of common sense you have no choice but to remove the politics from the process. If that means short-cutting democracy to get the 200,000 homes built, then that is what the Government must do, even if it is against the tide of localism and all such similar political rhetoric of the last few years.Russell Quirk