A deal which will see the start of a new Garden Village near Stratford-upon-Avon could see the area leading the country in creating new communities according to MP Nadhim Zahawi.
Long Marston Garden Village is one of the first generation of new garden villages being created across the country and work is set to start in the next few weeks after land for the first phase of the site was sold to developer Cala Homes.
Garden villages are designed to be distinct communities with their own facilities, rather than extensions to existing urban areas, and will not only deliver homes, but also bring new jobs and boost local economies.
Phase one will take around six years to construct and will see the creation of 400 high-quality homes, of which 17.5 per cent will be affordable, 400 square meters of employment land including a village hub and commercial premises and 21 hectares of open space.
Zahawi said, on a visit to the site, that the garden villages present areas with the chance to create very special communities.
He said: “By their nature, garden villages are a real opportunity for developers and local authorities to create sustainable and attractive communities with the highest levels of design because they are starting with a blank canvas, and that is certainly the expectation for Long Marston.
“I have followed the progress of the Long Marston Garden Village scheme closely and have supported a number of bids made by Stratford District Council for central government funding.
“Thanks to their success, we are now in a position to begin work on the first phase next month. This is a fantastic achievement and I want to pay tribute to all those involved for their hard work. It will be fascinating to see how it develops and the benefits it brings.”
The first phase of the development benefits from a £13.4 million grant from Homes England from its Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), putting it at the forefront of garden village projects across the country.
Agent Jonathan Thompson, of Jonathan Thompson Land and Consultancy Limited who acts on behalf of the landowners, said the Long Marston scheme would be keenly followed around the UK.
He said: “It’s excellent that we have reached a position where work can begin on what will be one of the first garden villages in the UK and will also be a key regional development for the wider economy.
“The government has put a strong emphasis on the quality of design and they and local government recognise the significance of this development. It is that joined up partnership approach which has made the Long Marston scheme progress quicker than other developments around the country.”
The development also includes a section 106 agreement which will see around £3 million distributed between Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council for community projects, while the site will provide further employment land, community facilities, two primary schools, a secondary school and a significant amount of public open space including parks, outdoor sports pitches and amenity space.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The garden village will deliver jobs which will have a positive impact on the local economy, and it is very good to see that employment land will feature in the first phase of the development.
“Housing supply and the ability of young people to get on the housing ladder are also pressing issues in the Stratford area as they are elsewhere, so we look forward to seeing the development make a positive impact.”
Cllr Daren Pemberton, Deputy Leader of Stratford District Council, said: “We have been working closely with the developer, and landowner and Homes England for a number of years and we are very pleased that work on the first phase of the development is finally scheduled to begin next month.
“This scheme provides a great opportunity to create a new and distinctive community with a wide range of homes, shops, facilities and jobs in an extensively landscaped setting.”
Daniel Forrester, regional land director at CALA Homes Midlands, added: “We’re incredibly proud to be playing an important role in the regeneration of a brownfield site into what will be a thriving new community.”
The Long Marston Garden Village scheme will eventually include up to 3,500 new homes, a six-hectare business park, as well as a relief road. James Mottram, of Stratford-based law firm Lodders, advised the landowners on the sale of the site.
Caption 1: Councillor Daren Pemberton, Nadhim Zahawi, Louise Bennett, Jonathan Thompson
Caption 2: Jonathan Thompson, Nadhim Zahawi, Louise Bennett, Councillor Daren Pemberton