Socialist Worker

Garden villages are no Eden

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2535

Welwyn Garden City station

Welwyn Garden City station (Pic: Ben Brooksbank/

Fourteen “garden villages” are set to be built as part of the Tories’ plan to tackle the housing crisis. And three more “garden towns” are supposed to bring the total of new homes created by the scheme to 200,000.

But these new announcements will not address the underlying problems which have created the crisis.

It looks increasingly likely the majority of these homes will not be “affordable” housing, let alone the council housing needed.

Talking about one of the proposed villages in St Austell, Cornwall, councillor Dick Cole said, “Local people were promised 40 to 50 percent affordable housing.” Now it stands at 30 percent.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has put aside just £6 million for future villages.

That means that funding for any new villages will have to come from the private sector, which means “affordable” housing quotas will be squeezed.

Much of the opposition to the new plans has focused on villages being built on green belt land.

The real scandal is that the Tories’ plans to tackle the housing crisis by opening up the sector even further to the market are woefully inadequate.

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