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NPPF lays foundations for a new generation of Garden Cities

Tuesday 27th March 2012

Leading housing and planning charity, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has welcomed the Government’s recognition in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for bringing forward new large scale developments that follow the principles of Garden Cities.  

Kate Henderson, TCPA Chief Executive said:

“The NPPF highlights the benefits of planning new settlements or extensions to existing villages and towns that follow the principles of Garden Cities. The Garden City vision combines the very best of town and country living to create healthy homes for working people in vibrant communities. The recognition in the NPPF and the Prime Minister’s statement last week provide a unique opportunity for councils to plan for new settlements which enhance the environment, provide high quality affordable housing and locally accessible jobs.”

The Garden Cities were underpinned by a famously strong vision, and the companies that that built the first garden cities worked to the ideals of the Garden Cities and Town Planning Association (later renamed the Town and Country Planning Association). The TCPA’s founder, Ebenezer Howard, described in his seminal text on garden cities in 1898 “…the advantages of the most energetic and active town life, with all the beauty and delight of the country, may be secured in perfect combination”

Kate Henderson added:

“Over the last century the garden city ideals have proven to be outstandingly durable. Today, we still face the primary challenges confronted by early garden city pioneers: meeting our housing shortage, generating jobs and creating beautiful and inclusive places. However, we have also the new challenges of globalised markets and the urgent need to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

“New settlements provide the opportunity and the economies of scale to truly fulfill the ambitions of sustainable development  by delivering multiple benefits including social housing, zero carbon design, sustainable transport and local food sourcing. New communities also offer a powerful prospect to put in place new governance structures that put people at the heart of developing new communities and owning community assets.”

Many of the TCPA’s concerns over the draft NPPF have been addressed by the Government, including the revisions to the definition of sustainable development and the reference to the 2005 UK Sustainable Development Strategy’s five principles.

Kate Henderson said:

“The inclusion of the 2005 UK Sustainable Development Strategy to the definition of sustainable development ensures that local authorities and communities have the opportunity to deliver socially and environmentally just outcomes as well as promote economic development through the planning system.”

The Association will be looking at the NPPF in detail, including the functionality of the transitional arrangements and the key policies in the NPPF more generally. On the 4th April the TCPA, in partnership with the Good Homes Alliance, is holding a seminar on ‘taking stock of planning reform’ and in May the Association will be running a series of practitioner seminars around key aspects of the new planning framework.

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