Housing minister hopes local communities will drive delivery of modern, sustainable towns

Housing minister Grant Shapps has called on planners and developers to join forces to create new garden cities suitable for burgeoning modern communities.

Writing in today’s Guardian Housing Network, Shapps said:

“…We are encouraging councils to follow the government’s lead and make their unused land available for development.

“If local communities want to use the provisions in the Localism Bill, once it is enacted, they will be able to take control, to plan and to own and manage assets and with visionary investment backing, we could see some new garden cities in the near future.”

He urged “imaginative developers and community groups” to work together to deliver new city plans.

The Town and Country Planning Association, which campaigns for a more integrated planning process, has outlined its support for garden cities in a new report, “Re-imagining Garden Cities for the 21st Century: the benefits and lessons in bringing forward comprehensively planned new communities”.

Kate Henderson, TCPA chief executive, said that over the coming months the charity would seek to bring together all parties with an interest in creating new garden cities.

She explained: “The TCPA wants to bring together the pragmatic lessons of the garden cities in taking forward new, comprehensively planned new communities.

“Working across the different sectors, we will seek to examine these lessons in the context of the government’s planning reform agenda so that we can move forward into a new era of building attractive, resilient and sustainable places.

“And where better to start this journey that to rediscover and re-imagine the high quality, collaborative and pioneering spirit of the garden cities for the 21st Century; exploring further public-private partnerships and new governance structures that connect people and planning. We hope that this report will mark the beginning of a resurgence in one of the most successful stories in Britain’s history.”