Creating Garden Cities and Suburbs Today
The guide benefited from valuable contributions made by members of the project Steering Group, who gave time to share their practical experience and offer feedback. Members of the Steering Group are: Mary Parsons (Group Executive Director, Places for People), Will Cousins (Deputy Chairman, David Lock Associates), Stephen Heverin (Director of Investment, First Ark Group), Lee Newlyn (Director, Mayfield Market Towns), Euan Hall (Chief Executive, The Land Trust), John Lewis (Chief Executive, Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation), and Simon Leask (Head of ATLAS, HCA-ATLAS).
Lord Matthew Taylor also provided valuable advice. The TCPA would also like to thank the councillors who provided quotes for use in the guide, and a number of Trustees of the Association for making available their insight and expertise. This report has been drafted by Kate Henderson and Katy Lock. The views expressed in the report are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Steering Group.
The aim of this guide The size and location of new communities Background The new world of planning and housing Policy drivers About Garden Cities Lessons from history Leading the way Making the case Pioneering local leadership Building consensus Planning ahead Going for growth Key design principles Masterplanning Unlocking land The value of land Facilitate and lead Partnership approaches Funding infrastructure Investing in the future Sharing risk and reward Making it happen Effective delivery Stewardship of local assets Next steps and useful resources Useful resources from the TCPA Signposts to further information 9 11 13 18 21 23 27 Creating Garden Cities and Suburbs Today: A Guide for Councils Foreword We know that we will have to build homes to house the nation into the 21st century: the question is not whether we build but whether we have the determination to deliver high-quality communities that will stand the test of time. As councils and communities across the country know, the decisions we make about the built environment cannot easily be undone.
In many areas a history of badly planned and poor-quality development, which has increased pressure on existing infrastructure, has resulted in a breakdown of community trust and a lack of local consensus about the need for new development, despite an escalating housing crisis. Understandably there is community resistance to yet more anonymous ‘bolt-on’ housing estates, and councils are often caught in the crossfire between local concerns, private sector ambitions and national requirements.
These debates, which councils know only too well, rarely focus on either the scale of local housing need or the huge opportunities to create beautiful, vibrant and sustainable new communities. However, there is a solution, one which draws on the origins and the best of town and country planning, put into a modern context of sustainable communities – Garden Cities and Suburbs for the 21st century. Significant momentum has been gained both politically and across the built environment sector on recognising the potential of the Garden City approach to development.
The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have both pledged their support for new Garden Cities; the Garden City principles have been enshrined in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework; and there is support for ‘locally planned large scale development’ in the Housing Strategy for England. Councils are now firmly in the driving seat in planning for and stimulating growth. In a localised planning system the real power is the Local Plan – this is a major opportunity to think about the long-term future and consider whether a Garden City or Suburb could provide the right solution.
If you get the right plan for your area, you can help to steer development to where it is needed and stop bad planning applications being made in the first place. The alternative – not going for well planned growth in the face of continuing population increase – will lead to intensifying pressures on councils and communities as they face overcrowding, failing infrastructure and a lack of investment. As this guide argues, well planned new communities, based on the Garden City principles, provide an opportunity to create high-quality inclusive places.
By adopting the Garden City approach councils can rebuild trust in the development process, offering people a better quality of life by allowing for the highest sustainability standards, economies of scale, and better use of infrastructure. Given the scale of the challenges facing our communities, there has never been a more important time for councils to be innovative and ambitious in meeting local housing needs and aspirations, seizing the opportunities to create worldclass new communities.
Kate Henderson Chief Executive, Town and Country Planning Association 2 Introduction 1 Introduction Letchworth Garden City town centre 1. 1 Why Garden Cities and Suburbs? opportunity to grow food locally. New Garden Cities and Suburbs can deliver all this. What sets them apart is that this approach to large-scale development allows the necessary infrastructure to be planned in from the start, and existing communities can be protected from unsightly and unpopular piecemeal development.
They also provide a powerful opportunity to introduce governance structures that put people at the heart of new communities and give them ownership of community assets. Applying Garden City principles to the development of new communities also allows for immediate access to the countryside, as well as the integration of smart technology. The Garden City 3 The UK’s housing challenge, posed by the need for new homes of all tenures, is clear.
However, meeting the nation’s housing needs will involve more than just delivering housing units – we must create beautiful, green places which offer a wide range of employment, retail and leisure opportunities; supply a complete mix of housing types, including social and affordable housing; adopt low-carbon design; implement sustainable transport; provide well managed and connected parks and public spaces; and offer the Creating Garden Cities and Suburbs Today: A Guide for Councils approach provides a unique opportunity to offer people a better quality of life and more sustainable lifestyles.
Significant momentum has been gained recently, both politically and across the built environment sector, on recognising the potential of the Garden City approach to development. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have both pledged their support for new Garden Cities; the Garden City principles have been enshrined in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework; and there is support for ‘locally planned large scale development’ in the Housing Strategy for England. Councils are in the driving seat in planning for and stimulating growth.
The new planning framework requires every council to identify local housing need and then bring forward developments to ensure that everyone has access to a decent home. This guide highlights the opportunities to bring forward sustainable new communities within the context of localism, planning reform and recently introduced Government incentives. ? unlocking land; ? funding infrastructure; and ? making it happen. The final section, on ‘next steps’, gives signposts to further information and useful resources (see also Box 1). 1. 3
The size and location of new communities In the context of localism it will be for local authorities, developers and communities to work together to decide on the most suitable location and the size needed to provide a sustainable community that creates jobs, meets local housing need, and finances and supports the necessary hard and soft infrastructure required to enable a community to thrive. Ebenezer Howard, the ‘inventor’ of the Garden City idea, understood that a Garden City should be carefully designed in relation to the site it occupies.
There are, however, specific opportunities – including the economies of scale that are needed to finance and sustain new infrastructure – offered by the development of larger-scale new communities, and the new planning framework – the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – states (in para. 52): ‘The supply of new homes can sometimes be best achieved through planning for larger scale development, such as new settlements or extensions to existing villages and towns that follow the principles of Garden Cities. ’ 1. 2 The aim of this guide This guide is designed to help elected members (and officers) to: ? ake advantage of the opportunities to create Garden Cities and Suburbs and deliver their benefits; ? understand the key questions that need to be asked and the tools and resources available in planning and delivering sustainable growth; and ? build on the latest policy hooks. The guide has nine sections.
This section outlines key Garden City principles. Section 2 gives an overview of the key housing and growth challenges, along with the major policy levers. Section 3 provides a brief history of the Garden City story. Sections 4-8 cover five key themes that councils need to consider if they are to deliver world-class communities today: ? eadership; ? planning ahead; A Garden City or a Garden Suburb/urban extension – what’s right for us? Garden City principles (set out in Box 2) are applicable to different models of large-scale development, including towns, suburbs/urban extensions, and villages – and the right solution will vary from place to place. The principles can also be applied to smaller, inner- Box 1 Detailed information on Garden Cities The TCPA has recently produced a number of documents as part of its Garden Cities and Suburbs campaign: ? Creating Garden Cities and Suburbs Today: