Letchworth six-year-old follows in footsteps of garden cities master planners

Ewan Frearson with his award-winning design. Credit: Iain Frearson

Ewan Frearson with his award-winning design. Credit: Iain Frearson - Credit: Archant

A national poll has found widespread support for garden cities as a means of tackling the housing crisis.

Three out of four people asked in the UK have backed new garden cities – based on the Letchworth GC model – to answer the need for new housing.

The survey was commissioned by the Wolfson Economic Prize, which this year is being awarded for the best ideas on how to deliver new garden cities.

A shortlist of ideas was unveiled by the Wolfson Economics Prize committee in London yesterday (Wednesday) – which included a commended entry by a six-year-old boy from Letchworth GC.

Ewan Frearson was awarded a £50 prize for his sketch and is the youngest ever entrant to the Wolfson prize, following in the footsteps of Letchworth GC master planners Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker who, after architect Ebenezer Howard’s initial concept, went on to create garden cities around the world.

Nearly 300 organisations and individuals submitted ideas for the £250,000 prize established by Lord Simon Wolfson, which asked ‘how would you deliver a new garden city which is visionary, economically viable, and popular?’

Shortlisted ideas included the development of garden cities on the Hoo Peninsula in Medway, Kent, and beyond the London Green Belt arc stretching from Portsmouth to Oxford, Cambridge and Felixstowe.

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John Lewis, chief executive of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, said: “It’s exciting to see so many ideas for new garden cities which we believe can play an important part in tackling the current housing crisis.

“As custodians of the world’s first one we are keen to ensure any new plans adhere to the key garden city principles – and will be studying the entrants to see how they have interpreted these principles in their plans for creating communities.”

The poll of more than 6,000 people carried out by Populus last month found that support for new garden cities is stronger among older people, homeowners, those in rural areas, and Conservative and UKIP voters, than among the population generally.

Lord Wolfson, founder of the Wolfson Economics Prize, said: “This is a very encouraging poll. It demonstrates how popular garden cities would be as a solution to Britain’s mounting housing crisis. It is particularly interesting that older generations, more than others, support the building of new homes with gardens. Naturally they aspire for their children and grandchildren to live in the quality of homes they themselves have enjoyed.”

More details on the Wolfson Prize shortlist are available at www.wolfsonprize.org.uk