Garden communities have been around as a concept for a few years. Now that some of them are becoming a reality let’s take a look at what garden communities are and what they might mean for property markets.

The first new garden communities in present times were announced back in 2017. Garden communities are not an entirely new idea however. They date back to the early 20th century. Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire is, for example, one of the earliest garden communities and was created back in 1920.

What exactly are garden communities?

Garden communities are sizable high quality new communities. They can be purpose built new settlements, or large extensions to an existing town. However, government guidance says they must have a clear identity, be well designed, fit well into the local area, be sustainable and must offer high quality new homes in an attractive and green environment.

In simple terms garden communities are one potential solution to the housing crisis.

The current garden communities programme is designed to support house building in 43 locations across England. These aim to provide over 300,000 homes, up to 90,000 of which will be affordable, at a rate of 16,000 a year from 2025 onwards.

Garden communities are divided into garden towns, which are intended to have 10,000+ new homes each, and garden villages which are intended to have between 1,500 and 10,000 homes. (A list of garden communities can be found at the end of this post.)

What you need to know about garden communities

Some garden community projects are in progress, while many others are still being discussed. Some might not happen at all.

Garden communities are long term development projects. They are likely to take 20-30 years to deliver all their development.

Garden communities are intended to deliver not just new homes. They are intended to provide new public amenities like schools, shops and other services too. Many of them will have new business space, which will provide employment.

Garden communities rely on a commitment from local authorities and private developers to actually build out the infrastructure, amenities and homes proposed.

Each garden community relies on funding being made available for it. Last year the government announced it was providing a further £15 million from a total of £69 million of funding. But this is only intended to support the delivery of these new communities. Developers need to be willing and able to provide the funding to actually build the houses. And that relies on people being able to buy them.

New communities on this scale are bound to have an impact on existing local communities, although they are intended to be self-contained to a great extent. They will have an impact on the local infrastructure and public services, the jobs market and the existing housing market.

Garden communities will (or should) create opportunities for developers, local suppliers, other local businesses, investors and estate and letting agents alike.

Very importantly, garden communities hold potential to change local property markets in the areas where they are built considerably. They could change areas that have a housing shortage into areas where there is a good supply or even a surplus of housing. They could make existing properties more difficult to sell or let

Potentially new garden communities could affect local values and pricing, and possibly even soften them. (Although the long timescales over which the new communities are built could moderate the impact.)

Garden Towns

Hemel, Hertfordshire

Otterpool Park, Folkestone and Hythe

Manydown, Basingstoke

Harlow & Gilston, Essex and Hertfordshire

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Taunton, Somerset

St Cuthbert’s, Carlisle

Greater Exeter, Devon

Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

North Northants, Northamptonshire

Garden Villages

Longcross, Runnymede, Surrey

Newton Abbot, Teignbridge

Langarth, Cornwall

Burtree, Darlington

North East Chelmsford, Essex

Dunton Hills, Brentwood

Golden Valley, Cheltenham

South Ashford, Ashford

Tendring-Colchester Borders

Skerningham, Darlington

Long Marston, Stratford upon Avon

East of Biggleswade, Central Bedfordshire

North Dorchester, Dorset

South Seaham, Durham

Whetstone Pastures, Blaby

Uttlesford Park, Uttlesford

Wynyard Park, Hartlepool

West Carclaze, Cornwall

Culm, Mid Devon

Halsnead, Knowsley

West of Elvington, York

Dunsfold Park, Waverley

Welbourne, Fareham

Meecebrook, Stafford

Dalton Barracks, Vale of White Horse

Salt Cross, West Oxfordshire

Infinity, South Derbyshire

Berinsfield, South Oxfordshire

Borough Green Gardens, Tonbridge and Malling

Bailrigg, Lancaster

Spitalgate Heath, South Kesteven

Tresham, East Northamptonshire

Pan-Essex

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