Garden Cities plan plants seed for housing shortfall, say critics

Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire (Source: Wikimedia)
Plans to build 250,000 homes in Garden Cities would deliver just a third of unmet demand for housing over the next five years, leaving a shortfall of around 500,000 homes between now and 2020, according to a new report from the Future Spaces Foundation (FSF).

The report says the government’s policy of building Garden Cities in response to the current housing crisis is impractical, and the focus should be on making existing settlements more dense.

The report found that if all the new homes that are required were to be built in Garden Cities, 67 of these type of settlements, each with a population of 30,000, would be required in order to meet the projected shortage of 1m homes in London and the home counties over the next 25 years. If used as the sole solution to the current housing shortage, 675 square km of land would be needed (around the size of Manchester), compared to 301 square km for buildings with the density of a region like Brighton & Hove.

Ken Shuttleworth, founder of Make Architects and chairman of FSF, said: “As a nation, we are in danger of sleepwalking into policies that will exacerbate the current crisis of housing availability, suitability and affordability.”

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