Published: 18:07, 27 January 2021
| Updated: 18:21, 27 January 2021
The new chairman of a planning body tasked with building 15,000 new homes in north Kent has been announced.
Simon Dudley will help oversee the government's major housing development plans in Ebbsfleet Garden City over the next four years.
The former leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council was given the nod for the top job by the Prime Minister.
During his four year tenure Mr Dudley will be tasked with overseeing the garden city project, which seeks to capture the twin benefits of countryside and urban living, and is set to deliver thousands of new homes between Dartford and Gravesend.
He will be taking over the role from Michael Cassidy CBE, who served for six years as chairman of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC), the body established to speed up the delivery of news homes and infrastructure projects.
Prior to the appointment, Mr Dudley held the role of interim chair of Homes England, a government body tasked with unlocking plots of land to accelerate housebuilding and delivering affordable homes, and also served as a non-executive director and senior independent director.
The incoming chair of EDC said: “The creation of Ebbsfleet Garden City is a fantastic opportunity to grow a new community and business location where London meets the Garden of England.
“Building on a series of brownfield sites in one of the best-connected locations in England, we aim to deliver a vibrant new city of up to 15,000 new homes.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be appointed by the Prime Minister to one of the most successful regeneration projects in the country and I can’t wait to start.”
Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said: "I am delighted to announce Simon Dudley has been appointed as the new chairman of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and would like to thank Michael Cassidy for his sterling work over the past six years. “
“The Ebbsfleet, Northfleet and Swanscombe area has huge potential to create not only new homes, but also a vibrant community where people want to live and work.
"We look forward to working with him and wish him every success in helping to deliver a garden city of which we can all be proud.”
Mr Dudley will be taking on the role six years after the EDC was first established to steer forward the flagship project.
It is the UK's first garden city for 100 years and one of the largest developments on brownfield.
To date more than 2,200 homes and three primary schools have been built, with more more than 5,289 residents now living on site.
But there is still some way to go before bosses meet their target of delivering 15,000 homes by 2035.
However, the acquisition of a 125-hectare site which will be called Ebbsfleet Central, was labelled a key milestone as developers seek to deliver a new mixed commercial and residential "heart of the project" to sit alongside new and future plans.
Meanwhile residents views are being sought on plans to build 67 news homes in Alkerden, the second new village in the Eastern Quarry where plans to build a major education campus catering to more than 2,200 secondary and primary school pupils are set to be considered for approval.
Developer Westerhill Homes says its Alkerden Gateway proposals "seek to develop a characterful, bespoke neighbourhood and a vibrant place within Ebbsfleet Garden City".
Of these new custom build homes 17 have been designated as affordable.
The project team are looking to engage with local residents, businesses and stakeholders to ensure their views inform the final proposals.
Individuals will be able to select their preferences across a range of custom build options from layout and materials used to sustainability add-ons and the number of parking spaces.
Julian Moat, planning director at Westerhill Homes, said: “As a company, we are committed to building high-quality, energy efficient new homes, which is exactly what we are trying to achieve at Alkerden Gateway.
"What we believe to be unique about this project is the delivery of custom build homes, as this is something that is currently not commonplace in the housebuilding market today."
“Custom build homes provide an exciting opportunity for future residents to be involved in the design and build process, as well as creating an original and visually diverse street scene.
"Ahead of submitting our Reserved Matters planning application, we want to get the feedback of local people and stakeholders on the different customisable options of the proposed homes at Alkerden Gateway, which we will be doing through our newly launched website.”
The public consultation on these new homes will run until Sunday. Click here to have your say.