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Garden villages could offer bumper harvest

With plans for garden villages in the news on a weekly basis, it seems that almost any new housing scheme now comes with this leafy moniker attached.

The government kicked off 2017 by unveiling the locations for 14 garden villages and three garden towns to be built across England.

The plans are among measures the government has put forward to address the housing shortage and deliver on the promise of one million new homes during the lifetime of this parliament.

While these schemes may, at least on first glance, seem to be dominated by housebuilding opportunities, there are plenty of opportunities for other facets of the construction industry.

The push for the new villages is giving councils and local enterprise partnerships the opportunity to dust off any long-held infrastructure plans in their closets and use the housing boost to deliver them.

To qualify for garden village funding, councils have to propose between 5,000 and 10,000 homes in what can be deemed a ‘new’ development. Though many of the plans in the 14 garden villages announced to date have been on paper for years, central government backing has given the proposals a new life.

Working with Aecom, Buckland Development’s proposed garden village in Fareham, Hampshire is due to deliver a secondary school, three primaries as well as 30,000 sq m of commercial space, 35,000 sq m of industrial development and 40,000 sq m of warehousing space.

The scheme has also outlined major infrastructure improvements for the area, including upgrade works to the A32, new distributor roads within the development and improvements to Junction 10 of the M27 motorway.

According to Buckland, the infrastructure plans for Fareham are due to be brought forward during the early stages of the development.

It’s a similar story in Somerset, where Taunton has outlined plans to turn itself into a garden town that will deliver 17,000 new homes by 2028. The plans also include £9m of station enhancements for Taunton station, an £18m junction improvement scheme for the M5 and a new A303/358 ‘South West Expressway’ connecting the town to the motorway.

Taunton is located within the Hinkley Point Impact Area, with thousands of jobs set to be created by the nuclear project.

Derby’s garden village plans, first mooted in 2012, have been linked to the new South Derby Integrated Transport Link, of which phase 1 would cost between £11m and £14m to deliver. The D2N2 LEP last year put forward a bid for £3.75m of Department for Transport funding. These proposals are in their early stages but are key to the new garden village plans.

There is also plenty of demand for future garden developments: 51 local authorities applied for the first round of garden village funding, with the 14 successful applicants sharing a £6m pot to develop the proposals.

As more councils work up their own plans, contractors looking to spy new opportunities may want to keep an eye on just what else apart from the new homes that a garden village may deliver in the years ahead.

Got 5 minutes?

Result for Wates: The group had an order book of £3.6bn going into 2017 having delivered a strong financial performance in 2016, it revealed in a trading update this morning.

Wates chief executive also called on the industry to move away from the “muck and bullets” image in order to boost workplace diversity.

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