Garden cities: David Cameron accused of stifling plan for new …
David Cameron has been accused of suppressing plans to build new garden cities to address housing shortages because they would affect key Conservative constituencies.
Tim Farron, president of the Liberal Democrats, said the prime minister was being a “nimby” and keeping the report quiet, fearing a pre-election backlash against his party.
The Telegraph said new settlements proposing tens of thousands of homes were proposed in a secret Whitehall report that recommended they be built in Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire or Oxfordshire where the prime minister is MP for the safe seat of Witney.
Garden cities proliferated across the UK after the second world war there were 27 built including Stevenage, Harlow, Milton Keynes, Corby, Peterlee and Cumbernauld.
The movement to build holistically planned communities from scratch had its origins in Letchworth and Welwyn in Hertfordshire.
The Whitehall report was drawn up after Cameron gave a speech two years ago in support of reviving the concept to address 21st-century housing needs.
Nick Clegg this week supported the report, describing it as a “prospectus” for developments.
He told MPs: “As a government we are committed to publishing a prospectus on garden cities, which I very much hope we will do as soon as possible.”
The Telegraph quoted Lib Dem sources as saying the report was completed more than a year ago but had been “sat on” in Whitehall ever since1.
The Conservatives said plans would be outlined for the 2015 elections and denied the party had a secret blueprint for new garden cities.
The Labour shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, has promised a major programme of new town construction if his party is returned to government, with 200,000 new homes a year being built by 2020.
- ^ completed more than a year ago but had been “sat on” in Whitehall ever since (www.telegraph.co.uk)
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