I’ve just read a report of Nick Boles speaking at a recent NHBC event. It caught my eye for the reference to garden cities. We are still waiting for a Government prospectus for garden cities and I sense we could be doing so for a while longer, yet. The Planning Minister is reported as saying that those who “had been hoping for a pot of money specifically for the purpose of promoting garden cities [will find] that other priorities, such as infrastructure, had been given greater weight in the spending round”.
The Minister was also reported as saying that those housing developments that he liked best are ones where there is cohesion of long-term ownership of the public realm by the promoting developer, citing the model of Letchworth Garden City.
As local authorities withdraw from providing non-mandatory services given the extreme constraints on the public purse, the long-term financial responsibility for delivering and then maintaining public realm and community facilities, which are an integral part of all new housing developments, is going to fall on those new communities. So, we can expect to see more long-term community ownership of green spaces and other community assets, which must be embedded in resilient estate management strategies designed to provide for self-sustaining stewardship. The garden cities and new towns models certainly do set a good example to follow in the future.