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Government reveals consultation on Ebbsfleet garden city, setting up urban development corporation and naming Michael Cassidy CBE as chairman

By Chris Price

People living near the site of a possible garden city in Kent can have their say on how it should be developed in a consultation launched by the government today.

The plans outline how ministers want to set up an Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, a new statutory body responsible for driving forward the creation of a town with 15,000 homes.

It also sets out the geographical area the corporation will operate, the planning powers it will be granted and who will be on its board.

Developer Land Securities' former vision for a new town at Ebbsfleet

Ebbsfleet, an area of largely former quarry land between Gravesend and Dartford, was announced as the site for a new garden city by Chancellor George Osborne in his Budget this year.

Plans to develop homes there have existed for more than a decade, but were stalled by the global economic downturn.

The chairman of the City of London Property Investment Board, Michael Cassidy CBE, has been named as chairman designate of the body by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Mr Cassidy is also a non-executive director at Swiss Bank and UBS Ltd and chairman of arts management agency Askonas Holt.

He was awarded the CBE for services to the City in 2004.

Eric Pickles on a visit to Kent

Mr Pickles said: "Under the last administration progress at Ebbsfleet stalled and with it so too did the development of thousands of new homes for families.

"This government is unlocking that potential. With £200m government backing and the set up of a development corporation to drive forward Ebbsfleet there is nothing to hold back plans on paper becoming real homes and communities.

"Locally-led development is the key to unlocking growth and creating the places and communities that people actively want to be a part of.

"Today I am pleased to appoint Michael Cassidy as chairman of the development corporation that will work with local people to develop Ebbsfleet and grow the garden city in the way that is right for the local area."

Chancellor George Osborne on a visit to Ebbsfleet in 2014.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "To create the UK's first garden city for almost a 100 years will need drive, creativity and commercial savvy.

“Michael Cassidy has all of those qualities and I am delighted he will be leading the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation.”

Chairman Designate of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation Michael Cassidy said: "The development at Ebbsfleet is an exciting prospect, finally bringing to life an area where progress has been slow for many years and delivering the high quality homes and jobs that local people need.

"With £200m government backing and the set up of a development corporation to drive forward Ebbsfleet there is nothing to hold back plans on paper becoming real homes and communities..." - Eric Pickles

"I look forward to working with local communities to create a place where people choose to live and lay down their roots."

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said: "I think it is vital local people play a full part in the creation of the Garden City and it is essential that the views of local residents are listened to.

"The Garden City has the potential of being a really positive contribution to the area but we have to ensure that local people’s views on issues such as infrastructure are listened to."

An interactive map is available to view the proposed boundary of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation in more detail.

The consultation will run for eight weeks until Monday, October 6.

For details visit click here.

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