The housing and building sectors are under great scrutiny in 2018, but the future appears bright. Considering that the Government Construction Strategy promises to boost productivity in government construction, and the pledge to build one million homes in the UK by 2020, we should expect any housing issues to ease in the years to come. But what methods and projects are being adopted to achieve these pledges and promises?
One project in the pipeline that could help boost building figures and jobs is garden villages. These are settlements built on brownfield land away from established communities and are created as a response to the lack of housing for some parts of the country. So, what are garden villages and how will they affect the British housing and construction sectors? Here to investigate is Arbordeck — leading UK retailer of outdoor products, including composite decking boards.
Defining garden villages: what sets them apart?
It’s not necessarily simple to describe a garden village — there are certain features that it must meet in order to classify as one. Firstly, a garden village consists of 1,500-10,000 houses that are all part of a single, self-contained community, which is often surrounded by a lot of green land. Secondly, they must be constructed away from a town or city, which means there is a lot of scope for garden villages to create their own identity. Each garden village has a different set up and usually, they have their own schools, shops and transport stations to boost their independence and self-reliance.
Part of the aim of a garden village is to ease the pressure on the UK housing crisis and help first-time buyers get on the property ladder. What’s more, a garden village is very particular in its overall appeal — for example, they must be attractive, excellent quality and expertly designed. Alongside garden villages, expect to see the construction of garden towns. These building projects are very similar to garden villages in design and effect, although they are much larger — with some experts predicting they could hold up to 48,000 units.
If you think that the government isn’t taking the opportunities offered by the construction of garden villages seriously, think again. The government plans to invest £6 million towards funding these 14 new garden villages, as well as a further £1.4 million to support three garden towns. What’s more, every garden village and town will gain access to the £2.3 billion housing Infrastructure Fund, which was put forward in the Autumn Statement last year.
Will these garden villages be spread around the country?
Fortunately for all people wishing to buy a home, these garden villages will be constructed in multiple regions of the country. Therefore resulting in relatively evenly spread new garden villages. Areas include: Cornwall, Merseyside, Hampshire, Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Stratford-on-Avon, Lancaster, Essex, Derbyshire, and Devon, among other destinations. Plans are also in place to build garden towns in Taunton, Aylesbury, and Harlow and Gilston, which are expected to provide an extra 200,000 homes.
Will garden villages negatively or positively affect current towns and cities?
Of course, these garden villages must be built somewhere — so will this adversely affect nearby settlements? Or could they have a positive influence? Despite opinions to the contrary, the growth of garden villages will not necessarily impact negatively on services like schools and medical practices. Garden villages are built with their own facilities, including schools and general practices, so they should instead cause the creation of more jobs and facilities in a district rather than put a strain on current services. Also, these building projects will likely supply Britain with more than 50,000 homes.
Could we witness an increase in manual work and career opportunities in these regions that will help to drive money to several parts of the UK? Perhaps. This theory is supported by Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, who commented: “The whole programme is about trying to make sure that we design a community infrastructure —jobs, but also school places, GPs’ surgeries, transport services — that make these places not just dormitory suburbs.”
Admittedly, there may be some negativities that come with an introduction of a garden village. For example, transport. More people living nearby usually means more people on roads and using public transport, which could have a negative effect on locals. However, this could be controlled if the garden village has its own transport links and roads for commuting in and out of the area.
Will garden villages affect what we buy for our homes?
Although some people may be hesitant about garden villages, generally, the drive to construct so many should have positive effects overall. It’s likely that, due to an increase in homeowners living in residences with private gardens, that there’ll be heightened consumer demand for gardening and outdoor products. This may include: decked areas, outdoor lighting (like Chinese lanterns), fake grass, hot tubs, and summerhouses.
Though we don’t know how these garden village projects will pan out, it seems that they will be a great help to ease pressure on housing in the UK.