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Prime Minister responds to TCPA call to re-imagine Garden City principles

Monday 19th March 2012

Leading housing and planning charity, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has today welcomed the Prime Minister’s support for the garden city principles and his commitment to a consultation later this year on how to apply the principles of garden cities to areas with high potential for growth, in places people want to live.

Speaking at Institute of Civil Engineers on infrastructure, David Cameron said:

“We need homes for people who need them, in the places they want them, while protecting our fine landscapes and preserving the greenbelt….Some people feel we've lost the art of creating great places with the right social and environmental infrastructure… But in the last century, private and social enterprise also created places like Hampstead Garden Suburb, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City - not perfect, but popular - green, planned, secure, with gardens, places to play and characterful houses; not just car-dominated concrete grids.”

“Yes we need more housing, but sprawling over the countryside isn't the answer.” 

“We absolutely must protect our Green Belts and National Parks. But we also urgently need to find places where we are prepared to allow significant new growth to happen.”

“That’s why we will begin consultation later this year on how to apply the principles of garden cities to areas with high potential growth, in places people want to live. And we must get our planning system fit for purpose.”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s comments, Kate Henderson, TCPA Chief Executive said:

“The TCPA welcomes the Prime Minister’s recognition today of the high quality places that the Garden City movement delivered and his support for how we can apply these principles today. A new generation of locally-led, comprehensively planned garden communities - including sustainable urban extensions, urban villages and new settlements - is overdue.”

“Our report last year, ‘Re-imagining garden cities for the 21st Century’, illustrates how comprehensively planned large-scale development can be highly successful and the best examples of these – places such as Welwyn and Letchworth – have been a great British contribution to international thinking on planning. Many of the Garden City ideals remain of critical relevance today, providing a foundation and an economy of scale for high quality, attractive and inclusive places, creating new jobs and truly sustainable lifestyles.”

“The Garden Cities were fired by a sense of idealism and enthusiasm, with numerous voluntary organisations. Today, we can go further, placing local people at the heart of the process from the outset in order to shape our new communities and put in place long term community governance models.”

The TCPA is currently working with communities, local councils, planners, investors and developers to explore the types of partnerships and model approaches for development through the emerging policies identified in the Government’s Housing Strategy. This will include exploring how we re-connect people and planning, giving communities a stronger say and developers greater certainty. A first report from the Garden Cities and Expert Group will be published in the coming months.

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