Dunsfold aerodrome is one of​ two Surrey sites​ chosen to be among 17 other garden​ villages to be built across the country.

Here’s Friday’s Post.

BREAKING NEWS – You heard it here first.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire yesterday announced almost £3 million of government funding for an extra 19 garden villages across England, which he said have the potential to deliver 73,000 new homes.

visualisation of garden community plans for Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey.

A 10,000-home urban extension to Chelmsford in Essex, a 7,000-home settlement near Ashford in Kent, controversial plans for a garden community on the green belt in Tandridge, Surrey, and a “dementia-friendly” village in Rutland, are among the proposals that have been supported.


A total of £2.85 million has been pledged by the MHCLG to “support the development of plans for housing”, with each project receiving £150,000 “to progress planning applications and specialist reports needed before homes are built”.

The 19 new garden communities are:

Berinsfield Garden Village (South Oxfordshire District Council) – the potential for up to 2,300 homes south of Oxford.
Borough Green Gardens (Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council) – an opportunity to deliver up to 3,000 homes.
Burtree Garden Village (Darlington Borough Council) – a project led by Hellens Group with the support of Darlington Borough Council, aiming to deliver up to 2,000 homes.
Chilmington (Ashford Borough Council) – aiming to deliver up to 7,250 homes south-west of Ashford.
Cyber Central (Cheltenham Borough Council) – aiming to deliver up to 3,000 homes and around 8,000 jobs, primarily in the field of cybersecurity.
Dalton Barracks (Vale of White Horse District Council) – a free-standing proposal with the potential for up to 4,500 homes south of Oxford.

Dunsfold Park (Waverley Borough Council) – an opportunity for up to 2,600 homes in the form of a new free-standing settlement by 2032.

East of Biggleswade (Central Bedfordshire Council) – led by UK Regeneration, a free-standing project proposing up to 1,500 homes east of Biggleswade.
Newton Abbot Garden Community (Teignbridge District Council) – the potential for up to 6,800 homes that provides the opportunity to regenerate the existing town centre.
North East Chelmsford Garden Community (Chelmsford City Council) – the potential for up to 9,850 homes.
North Dorchester (West Dorset District Council) – proposal for up to 4,000 homes to the north of Dorchester.
Shapley Heath Garden Village (Hart District Council) – the potential for up to 5,000 homes by 2043 in the form of a new, free-standing settlement.
Skerningham Garden Community (Darlington Borough Council) – a project led by Skerningham Estates with the support of Darlington Borough Council, aimed at delivering up to 4,500 homes.

South Godstone Garden Community (Tandridge District Council) – up to 4,000 homes on the green belt.

South Seaham Garden Village (Durham County Council) – led by Home Group, a free-standing project aimed to propose up to 1,500 homes.
St George’s Barracks (Rutland District Council) – a new, free-standing settlement proposing up to 2,215 homes near Rutland Water. This has been described by the MHCLG as “a dementia-friendly community village” that “would allow the elderly to live safely and independently in their own homes”.
Threemilestone Garden Village (Cornwall Council) – proposing up to 2700 homes to the west of Truro.
West of Elvington (City of York Council) – up to 3,339 homes as part of a free-standing garden community.
Whetstone Pastures (Blaby District Council) – a free-standing proposal for up to 3,500 homes in the heart of Leicestershire.
In his speech, Brokenshire said: “These new communities stretch from County Durham in the North, to Truro in the south-west. Together they have the potential to deliver 73,000 new homes.

“We welcome the new homes these projects will bring, but this is about so much more than ‘housing units’.

“It’s about supporting local areas that have the vision and drive to create great new places – with all the facilities, green space and transport to make a community that will thrive.

“And I’m really pleased that our plans include a specially designed community that would support the needs of people with dementia, as part of a new Garden Community at St George’s Barracks in Rutland.”

The new garden villages are in addition to 24 garden cities, towns and villages already supported by the government.

Here’s what one of our followers commented in our earlier post on   Dunsfold Park.

I first got involved in Dunsfold in 2006 when I attended a public consultation in Cranleigh. As Guildford and Waverley Friends of the Earth, we spent the better part of 2 years undertaking due diligence on the proposal which at the time was groundbreaking in the sustainability concepts it sought to introduce. As part of this, we approached the then Head of Planning campaigns at Friends of the Earth – Hugh Ellis. We didn’t know at the time, but Hugh had been one of the main authors on the Labour government’s first stab at an eco-town policy which was issued in the form of Planning Policy Guidance (PPG). Hugh agreed that the scheme ticked all the boxes in the PPG and deserved support and came down and spoke in favour at the planning inquiry on behalf of Friends of the Earth.

However, as we all know, the first scheme for 2,601 was rejected by the SofS at the time (John Denham) although I was told that it was a pretty close run thing. The day the announcement was made that Denham had refused it was also the day the masterplan won a prestigious national planning award, the Francis Tibbald award, beating the KingsX regeneration scheme.

So the garden village concept was already embedded in the scheme from the start.
In 2010 Hugh Ellis left Friends of the Earth and became Head of Policy at the TCPA – where he still is incidentally. He has always been passionate about sustainability and climate and at TCPA from 2012 onwards he evolved their garden town/village policy. I gather he remains in touch and supportive of Dunsfold to this day.

Denise – this Garden Village award is based on a government policy rather than the TCPA. The government version is a watered down version of the TCPA. It’s a bit soft but it isn’t bad. See this link

The second scheme is based on the award-winning masterplan of the first in terms of layout. However, ideas about sustainable building, particularly in terms of renewable energy, have evolved and there have been extraordinary technological changes since 2009. Although Dunsfold still aspires to be an exemplar in this respect – I have had this assurance from Trinity – there is uncertainty over the optimum model for an exemplar development to pursue and no examples of truly sustainable new settlements in the UK. It seems to me that everybody working on other new large scale schemes in this country (as opposed to individual houses or small schemes) isn’t much further forward than where Dunsfold was 10-12 years ago.

Dunsfold already has a 2MW solar farm and a 2MW anaerobic digester but these alone don’t produce enough to power the new settlement on renewables. So I hope some of this money will be used by Waverley to support Dunsfold in building an environmental exemplar which we think is going to require rooftop solar, either PV or thermal (or both), heat pumps and a micro-grid. A micro-grid is where instead of having every house directly connected to the national grid they are all connected together and then go through a central connection – this allows for cost-effective local energy balancing and energy storage. I think there is already a micro-grid there on the industrial side but I hope that we can see this extended to the residential.

It would be an even greater benefit (both as an exemplar and for future residents) if the micro-grid could be ‘community owned’ which would be entirely in keeping with Ebenezer Howard’s original principles in Garden Cities of Tomorrow, originally published in 1902 and on which the movement is now loosely based.

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