Recently released figures show that 217,350 new UK homes were built in the 2016/17 financial year — excellent news for the government which has set a lofty target of constructing one million homes in the country by 2020.
However, is this achievement a fluke or is the housing sector on course for more success? One building project that many in government and industry think could boost the UK housing sector further is garden villages — carefully designed communities built on brownfield land away from established communities.
But what defines a garden village and what does an increase in them mean for the building and housing industries?
Defining and designing garden villages
The garden village isn’t a new idea, however, these projects came about as an answer to lack of housing in the UK, so their design is focused on easing this strain — particularly for first-time buyers.
Essentially, a garden village must be expertly designed, attractive and of high-quality. Alongside garden villages, you have the slightly larger garden town. These building projects are very similar to garden villages in design and effect, although they are much bigger — with some experts predicting they could hold up to 48,000 units compared to a garden village’s 1,500-10,000 houses.
How do you identify a garden village? Basically, a garden village must be a single, independent community constructed away from a town or city and surrounded by green land. Each garden village has a different arrangement and usually, they have their own schools, shops and transport stations to boost self-reliance.
Here are some garden village figures:
- The government will invest more than £6 million towards garden villages and towns.
- There are currently 14 new garden villages and three new garden towns in the pipeline.
- Each garden village and town will have access to the £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund.
- Overall, these building projects will provide about 200,000 new homes.
Where will upcoming garden villages be located?
Location of garden villages include: Essex, Stratford-on-Avon, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Cornwall, Merseyside, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Lancaster, and Devon, among others. Future garden towns will be built around Taunton, Aylesbury, and Harlow and Gilston.
The potential impact of garden villages on established settlements
There are many positive factors that experts associate with garden villages and towns. Firstly, these will be constructed with their own facilities, which will mean more jobs and little strain on current services in the areas surrounding these new project sites. The task of building these villages and towns should also cause a rise in manual work and job opportunities in these regions, which will help to drive money to several parts of the UK.
Gavin Barwell, Housing Minister, said:
“The 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.”
However, more people living nearby usually means more people on roads and using public transport, which could have a negative effect on locals. Although, it’s expected that this could be controlled if the garden village has its own transport links and roads for commuting in and out of the area.
Future garden industry trends: the hidden advantage of garden villages
Along with the construction and housing sectors, the gardening industry is also likely to see a boost in profit margins as a result of a rise in gardens and new communal spaces. As more people will own private gardens, we are likely to see a rise in demand for:
- Decking (especially composite decking boards and plastic decking).
- Hot tubs.
- Fake lawns.
- Outdoor lighting.
- Old-fashioned garden furniture.
Those in government and thousands of first-time buyers are sure to be delighted with the news that the UK will be home to more garden villages, which will not only help hit target numbers and ease the problems of buying, but also create more jobs and improve economic growth.