“The garden city movement: from Ebenezer to Ebbsfleet”*

*article by Oliver Wainwright in The Guardian of 17.03.2014.

The above named article begins:

“Tory policies often come from unlikely places, but when George Osborne unveiled his grand plan for a “proper garden city” at Ebbsfleet in Kent, did he realise he was backing a socialist movement for collective land reform?

“Garden city” may have become a byword for the cosy middle England ideal of privet hedges and twitching net curtains, but it began as a radical campaign for co-operative development, set out by parliamentary stenographer Ebenezer Howard in the 1890s. In reaction to the overcrowding and industrial pollution of growing Victorian cities, Howard launched his vision for a series of ideal towns, contained by rolling green belts, that would separate housing from industry and combine the best of the city and the countryside.”

William Cook’s article for The Spectator of the same date opens:

“So, the government plans to create a new ‘garden city’ in Ebbsfleet, Kent, with 15,000 new homes. Yesterday’s announcement by George Osborne has been widely praised. The local Tory MP is enthusiastic. Boris Johnson tweets that it’s ‘great news.’ The best critique Ed Balls can muster is that it’s all ‘too little, too late.’ Labour wants 200,000 ‘new homes’ (that emotive mantra) per year by the end of the decade. I don’t live in Kent. This garden city isn’t in my back yard. So why, when I heard this news, did my sentimental heart sink?”

From Wikipedia:

Ebbsfleet International railway station is a railway station in Ebbsfleet Valley, in the Borough of Dartford, Kent, 10 miles (16 kilometres) outside the eastern boundary of Greater London, England. It is near Dartford and the Bluewater shopping centre to the west and Gravesend to the east. The station is part of the Thames Gateway urban regeneration, a project of national priority. It stands on the High Speed 1 rail line, around 400 metres (440 yards) south-west of Northfleet railway station and the Stonebridge Road area of Northfleet. The station lies off the A2 trunk road, about 5 mi (8 km) from its junction with the M25 motorway. During the London 2012 Olympics, it served as a primary park-and-rail service as it is very close to the M25 motorway, allowing easy access for over 10 million commuters.

From the Ebbsfleet Garden City website:

“Ebbsfleet International is owned by HS1 Ltd, which acquired a 30-year concession to own and operate the High Speed 1 railway and the stations St Pancras railway station, Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International.

We are the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, set up by Government to speed up delivery of up to 15,000 homes and create a 21st century Garden City in north Kent.
We are working with local authorities and local communities to develop a shared vision for the area, providing high quality, attractive and sustainably-constructed housing as well as opportunities to work with an ambition to create 30,000 jobs.

We have a strong planning service and we are the planning authority for Ebbsfleet Garden City.

Our core infrastructure programme will deliver gas and electricity networks, telecoms, water services and the highways people need.

We have established strong, constructive relationships with landowners, developers and utility companies to ensure all infrastructure projects are delivered within the £275million the former Chancellor, George Osborne, announced for the Garden City in the spending review.

The Ebbsfleet, Northfleet and Swanscombe area has huge potential to create not only new homes, but also a vibrant and cohesive place where people will want to live and work.

Strong communities have lived in this area for generations. Many of the communities formed the workforce that kept the cement industry thriving for many years.

The people of Northfleet and Swanscombe regularly engage with us and are keen to see new houses and community facilities delivered in the coming years.”

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