In January, it was announced that 14 Garden Villages will be built in England, delivering 48,000 new homes. The identified sites, spanning from Cornwall to Cumbria, have received local opposition in many areas, despite the Government arguing that if delivered properly, Garden Villages can genuinely help tackle the housing crisis.
The vision is for the villages to be self-sustaining, complete with schools, doctor’s surgeries, shops and even pubs; the Government will play an important role in properly directing infrastructure funds – both social and economic – to ensure these communities are properly curated and don’t become glorified out-of-town housing estates. As minister for housing Gavin Barwell said: “new communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies”.
With 200,000 homes needed annually to meet current housing need, the 48,000 homes proposed in the Garden Villages announcement, when considered in isolation, are in danger of looking more like hype than a viable solution. However, these Garden Villages have the potential to be excellent the testing grounds for larger developments across the country and, if properly planned and organised, will make a real contribution to the UK’s housing needs.