New “garden” towns and villages will be built across England in an attempt to alleviate the housing crisis, the Government will announce on Monday.
The plans will deliver 14 new villages of between 1,500 to 10,000 homes to be built outside existing settlements.
A further three towns of more than 10,000 houses each will be built alongside Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow and Gilston.
Theresa May’s first announcement of 2017 suggests her Government will make housing one of its main priorities in the year ahead.
The last Conservative government was regularly criticised for failing to build more homes. The ambitious new plans have won support from campaign groups despite earlier concerns that garden cities would lead to urban sprawl and put added pressure on infrastructure.
Announcing the scheme, the housing minister said the villages will create almost 50,000 new homes from Cheshire down to Devon, while the towns will take the total to 200,000 new homes.
Gavin Barwell said: “Locally-led garden towns and villages have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need. New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies.”
Campaign groups had previously warned against garden town developments because of concerns that local councils planned to build on green-belt land.
Last year the Government curbed its plans for garden cities after a project in Ebbsfleet stalled following opposition from local communities.
The Government has also been wary of any plans which could be termed a “war on the countryside”, a charge which was repeatedly levelled at the Tories during their years in coalition.
The schemes announced today will include some development of green spaces, but Shaun Spiers, the chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), broadly welcomed the new plan.
He said: “Done well, with genuine local consent, garden villages and towns can help tackle the housing crisis. They can be preferable to what is currently happening…