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Garden Cities plan wins £250,000 prize

A plan to create “Garden Cities” in up to 40 English towns, including Exeter, has won a £250,000 prize. These new garden cities (which would double the size of Exeter and Taunton) would help to ease the country’s housing shortage a leading economist has suggested.

The cities for expansion were identified by David Rudlin, an urban designer, who scooped the Wolfson prize, the second biggest prize for economics after the Nobel.

His award winning proposals included circular developments with parks and allotments of up to 150,000 people per town. Garden cities, connected by trams to existing centres, allowed development “in a way that reduces its impact, maximises its potential for sustainability and reinforces an existing place”, he said

He said that up to 100,000 homes a year would need to be built on greenfield sites in order for the demand for six million new homes over the next thirty years to be met.In the last 10 years house building targets have been missed by 954,000 homes

Other target areas included Cheltenham, Gloucester, Bath, Salisbury, Poole, Oxford, York, Norwich and Stafford

Lord Wolfson, the chief executive of Next and the founder of the prize, said “Garden cities are far more popular than people think. 74% of people like the idea of garden cities. Only 13% of people in this country are against the building of garden cities.

“But we live in a funny country and people will protest very, very loudly but very quietly agree. That 13% is extremely vocal but they are a minority. If politicians can attack this issue with integrity they will find the majority of people are on their side.”

However the government has said the proposals “will not be taken up”.

Housing and Planning minister, Brandon Lewis said the government was “committed to protecting the green belt from development as an important protection against urban sprawl”. He said the winning entry was “not government policy and would not be taken up”

 
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