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Nick Clegg to unveil plans for three new garden cities

Plans to build up to three garden cities each with 15,000 new homes will be announced today by the deputy prime minister.

Nick Clegg will issue a “call for arms for visionaries” alongside a new prospectus inviting bids from councils to build the new cities.

Successful bidders will be able to access a £2.4bn pot of government funding already available for housing development up to 2020, including access to the 2015/20 £1bn large sites infrastructure programme, which launched today and was announced in last year’s autumn statement.

Overall, the funding aims to unlock 250,000 news homes between 2015 and 2020 and will be provided through the local infrastructure fund, which has helped the development of 69,000 homes in areas including Devon and Berkshire to date.

Mr Clegg will say: “Today I’m publishing a new garden cities prospectus, which calls for local areas to submit their plans for garden cities that will provide affordable homes, good schools and jobs for the next generation, while at the same time preserving the countryside.

“This is a call to arms for visionaries in local areas in need of housing to put forward radical and ambitious proposals to develop their own garden cities.”

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “Our £1bn large housing sites infrastructure fund and package of support will help deliver locally-led developments in communities that want more growth and jobs in their area.

“It will also assist those areas with ideas for a new generation of garden cities, so they can turn their ambitions into reality.”

Officials stressed that garden cities will not be imposed on communities and should have local backing, including district and county-level council support.

Proposals that re-use brownfield sites will also be welcomed, provided they are not of high environmental value.  

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