The forthcoming Housing White Paper - expected to accompany the Autumn Statement - creates a real opportunity for government to put in place measures to address the nation’s acute housing shortage by helping local authorities deliver on their ambitions and enable the creation of highly sustainable new places.

This includes the creation of well planned new communities which draw on the Garden City principles. These principles include, crucially, a concern for high-quality design in environmentally resilient and socially inclusive communities. They also provide a financial model which uses the assets and land value uplift created through the development process to pay for up-front infrastructure investment and the creation and long-term management of a key range of physical and social facilities.

TCPA’s campaigns have demonstrated how a modernised New Towns Act could provide an effective delivery option for local authorities and new Combined Authorities who want locally led growth in resilient communities.

Earlier this month TCPA was invited by Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell MP to explore options for updating the Act and to demonstrate local authority appetite for its amendment. As part of our response to this the TCPA and Local Government Association are publishing a joint statement urging government to commit to amending the New Towns Act in the Housing White Paper.

The legislation has a proven track record on delivery and with a few minor amendments could be made fit for purpose to deliver a new generation of garden cities and encourage public support by offering a clear narrative of high-quality placemaking and long-term stewardship. 

These amendments include ensuring that the process of designation and the delivery by New Town (or Garden City) Development Corporations is driven by local authorities. A proactive and strategic approach to considering growth needs combined with the powerful development management and delivery mechanisms of Garden City Development Corporations can help local authorities avoid speculative development where no local plan is in place. The amendments would also put in place provision for the re-investment of development values and long-term stewardship of assets – currently missing from the legislation.

Changes to legislation should be accompanied by a new approach to government investment in new development, channelling new and existing funds to support up-front infrastructure and affordable homes.

There are many models for delivering large scale development and a Development Corporation won’t be the right solution in every case. Amending the legislation provides local authorities with the option to consider the use of a Garden City Development Corporation where appropriate. This approach could unlock a new generation of highly sustainable places that meet housing, employment and quality of life needs while promoting innovation.

A White Paper commitment to update the legislation is the first step towards ensuring local authorities have the tools they need to create the kind of high quality places the nation deserves.

Join the campaign!

The TCPA and Local Government Association are seeking support from other organisations who are keen to see government commit to amending the New Towns Act to help local authorities drive high quality placemaking. We are delighted that North Dorset District Council, Tendring District Council, Colchester Borough Council and Braintree District Council have confirmed their support.

We hope you will join the campaign by signing on to the joint statement. Please contact Hugh Ellis at [email protected] or Katy Lock at [email protected] for details.

The TCPA is also continuing to explore the detail and is holding a New Towns Act Local Designation Forum on Wednesday 14th December at TCPA to explore the practical realities of modernising the Act. Please contact Katy Lock at the address above for further details.  

Read the Statement here


**Blog published 14th November 2016 - Links to Joint Statement updated 11th Jan 2017 to include recent signatories**