Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the TCPA, said:

“As an organisation at the forefront of advocating for modernised New Town Development Corporations, we welcome the chancellor’s announcement of five new gardens towns today. We call on government to commit to the garden city principles to ensure these new garden towns will be happy, healthy and affordable places to live and work.

“A key lesson from the past is that success depends on national and local government doing their homework on the right locations for new towns. While the chancellor said new garden towns would be in high demand areas such as the South East, he didn’t announce where they would be located. New towns can’t be produced like a rabbit out of a hat; they require an expert process of site selection, real community engagement and a long-term commitment to the highest-quality design standards on everything from accessibility to climate change.

“The TCPA also welcomes the government’s commitment to lifting the Housing Revenue Account borrowing caps for councils. A recent survey of councils in England by the TCPA, and supported by the Nationwide Foundation, found that over 2/3 of local authorities said that removing borrowing caps would enable them to deliver more affordable housing.

“The budget states that the HRA cap will be lifted in areas of ‘high affordability pressure’; we argue that it should be lifted for all councils with housing stock that want to build. Recent research by the TCPA for the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) reveals that 98% of councils describe their need for affordable housing as moderate or severe.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

1. What are New Town Development Corporations?

New Town Development Corporations (NTDCs) were created under the 1946 New Towns Act and are powerful public-sector organisations with land assembly, planning and borrowing powers which enable them to do everything necessary to deliver new communities effectively and at speed. The last NTDC was wound up in 1992, but New Towns legislation is still on the statute books. The TCPA has been campaigning for the New Towns Act to be modernised to make NTDCs fit for purpose in the 21st century for use for the delivery of new garden cities.

Government has so far committed to amending the New Towns Act to make NTDCs accountable to local authorities (rather than the Secretary of State). This is a positive move towards making them more locally-led. However, it is only a small part of the changes needed. To learn the lessons from the past, NTDCs also need to be modernised to ensure the objectives of corporations commit to high-quality placemaking, including a commitment to high-quality design, genuinely affordable homes, climate resilience and the long-term stewardship of community assets. There are also changes needed to the compensation rules for Compulsory Purchase by NTDCs to enable the uplift in land values to be captured, shared, and reinvested in the new community for the benefits of its residents and visitors. The TCPA and LGA launched joint statement to campaign for these further amendments.

More information about NTDCs is available in new TCPA research here.

2.  The TCPA report with the Nationwide Foundation hasn’t been released yet. To receive an embargoed copy, please contact Jack Mulligan on 07825 707 546 or [email protected].

3.   The full TCPA report for APSE, Building homes, creating communities: Ensuring councils provide innovative solutions to meeting housing need, can be found here.

4.   The Town and Country Planning Association www.tcpa.org.uk (TCPA) is an independent campaigning charity calling for more integrated planning based on the principles of accessibility, sustainability, diversity and community cohesion. The TCPA puts social justice and the environment at the heart of the debate about planning policy, housing and energy supply. We inspire government, industry and campaigners to take a fresh perspective on major issues including climate change and regeneration.

5.   For further information, please contact Jack Mulligan on 07825 707 546 or [email protected].