It could take a village - planners ponder a smaller garden vision for North Herts

David Levett is suggesting the idea of 'Garden Villages'.

David Levett is suggesting the idea of 'Garden Villages'. - Credit: Archant

Plans for ‘garden villages’ to meet the need for homes in North Herts are now being suggested after calls for a new garden city development fell at the first hurdle.

Despite support from local MPs the garden city option has proved to be too big a concept to include in the current North Herts District Council draft Local Plan blueprint.

But garden villages, with a large proportion of the homes earmarked for affordable market rent properties allocated to families, are now on the table.

Councillor David Levett, who holds the planning and enterprise brief at North Herts District Council, said: “We’ve looked at the garden city idea but as no suitable site had been identified in North Herts – we did approach South Cambs who weren’t interested – it wasn’t deliverable in the 2011-2031 plan.

“In the meantime I’ve been actively promoting the idea some of the larger sites could adopt a ‘garden village’ approach.

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“If we accept development to provide new homes is inevitable, and in order to generate the required infrastructure some of this needs to be on larger sites of between 1,000 to 3,000 homes – then why not apply garden city principles and create a number of garden villages’?

“They could be mainly two and three bed family homes with decent size gardens in a low density development with lots of green space around a ‘village centre’ – which could have shops, doctors surgery, community buildings and primary schools.

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“If a large proportion of the homes were to be affordable market rent properties allocated primarily to local families this would ensure new developments were to provide for North Herts housing needs, not to boost developers’ profits.

“It would need co-operation between the council and the developers, and for people to think about houses as homes rather than an investment.”

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