Published: 00:00, 26 August 2014
| Updated: 09:48, 26 August 2014
Planners have raised concerns the government is watering down its commitment to build a true garden city in Kent because it may lack affordable homes.
The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) says a new consultation document on plans for 15,000 homes in Ebbsfleet makes no reference to how a new garden city would be made up.
According to TCPA chief executive Kate Henderson, it would need to include between 60% and 70% of affordable homes.
However, she has expressed concern that the government will not place a quota on how many homes will fit this criteria.
The public consultation invites comments on the creation of an Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, a new statutory body responsible for driving forward the project, bypassing local authorities’ planning systems.
She said: “We share government’s commitment to housing growth and desire for Ebbsfleet to be a successful development.
“However, to achieve this, the government must create a Development Corporation capable of delivering the very best environmental and social standards and properly fulfil the ideals of the garden city movement.
“Without including these principles the government risks failing to build a much-needed consensus for high-quality growth.”
People living near the site can have their say on how it should be developed in the consultation.
As well as outlining proposals for the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation to oversee the town’s creation, it sets out the geographical area the corporation will operate, the planning powers it will be granted and who will be on its board.
The consultation states the corporation’s objective is to “secure the regeneration of its area” but omits any mention of the garden city principles or how they will be achieved.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “Locally-led development is the key to unlocking growth and creating the places and communities that people actively want to be a part of.”
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.”
Meanwhile, more has come to light on the man set to run the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles named Michael Cassidy CBE as chairman designate.
He is chairman of the City of London Property Investment Board and 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.
Mr Pickles said: “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 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.”
Mr Cassidy added: “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.
“I look forward to working with local communities to create a place where people choose to live and lay down their roots.”
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 www.gov.uk/government/consultations/ebbsfleet-development
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