The proposal to create the UK’s largest ‘Garden City’ in the West Midlands has been denied funding by the Government.
The plan outlines a development of 45,000 homes based on the world’s first ‘Garden City’ in Letchworth, across four derelict sites, Dudley Port, The Lye, Willenhall and Wolverhampton’s canal Quarter.
The £6-million-pound project, which if completed would become the largest ‘Garden City’ in the UK, has been rejected by the Government in favour of instead, backing the creation of 14 smaller new ‘Garden Villages’ for the same budget across various locations in the UK.
Usually linked to peripheral areas that sit on the edge of major towns and cities, a ‘Garden City’ development is a planned settlement incorporating vast open spaces, beautifully designed and energy efficient homes, integrated and accessible transport systems, and creation of strong communities within. The movement is a method of urban planning initiated in 1898 by Ebenezer Howard, whose vision was to create planned communities within greenbelt areas, that offered self-sufficiency, trade and cultivation.
The Governments rejection will be a blow to the region as it was believed that upon completion the sites would generate up to £18 billion for the local economy.
Commenting on the decision Sarah Middleton, chief executive of the Black Country Consortium said:
"It is slightly disappointing that our interpretation wasn't supported through this government announcement. We didn't quite meet that government interpretation of the criteria at this time. We want to bring those derelict sites back to use, make the most of the canal network across the Black Country and use the green assets. There is still a big need for housing across the country and in the Black Country and we have to use the assets available to us. We are continuing to use other funding streams and working with partners and we are in fact building to our aspirations."
The approved ‘Garden Village’ concept will be the first of its kind and will deliver between 1500 and 10,000 homes across 14 sites. Each site will have access to a £6 million fund over a two-year period. With the addition of a third ‘Garden Town’ concept the nationwide initiative has the potential to create over 200,000 new homes, jobs and facilities to communities across the country.