TCPA Projects Assistant Cova Cervilla Bordiu shares her thoughts on the TCPA’s recent seminar series for councils on ‘Understanding the Garden City Approach’

5 cities, 230 attendees and 628 miles later, the councillor seminars tour has been completed. The purpose of the seminar series was to help those councils who are considering the new Garden City approach as part of their portfolio of housing growth options. The seminars, which took place in Letchworth, London, Exeter, York and Manchester, disseminated the latest TCPA Guide for Councils, highlighting the opportunities to bring forward sustainable new communities within the context of national policy and recently introduced Government incentives.

However, disseminating the good word of Garden Cities was not the only purpose of these seminars. A crucial element of the events was the opportunity for local authorities to share their common experiences, concerns, frustrations, opportunities and successes with other local authorities.  A range of themes emerged, including land ownership, viability, stewardship, community development, land value capture and placemaking – along with many more.

The tour saw a broad spectrum of speakers from Local Authorities sharing their experiences and successes of their new communities; shedding a positive light on the often frustrated Local Authorities. With speakers stretching from East Devon to Carlisle, they showed that sustainable, healthy and successful new communities are possible, and even the most challenging development can be improved when following the Garden City principles.

These seminars were an opportunity to inspire and share. As one of the speakers said, “A problem shared is a problem half solved” and that is what we have seen from these seminars. Sharing and collaboration are at the heart of the TCPA and this has been an invaluable opportunity for peer to peer learning for local authorities for the benefit of their new communities and future residents.

We would like, once again, to thank our sponsors Countryside Properties, LDA Design and the Lady Margaret Paterson Osborn Trust for supporting these free to attend events. Equally, we would like to thank Homes England for attending and contributing to each of our events, providing invaluable lessons from the national Garden Communities programme. But most importantly we would like to thank the speakers and attendees that sparked all those important conversations that need to happen.