The ‘new’ garden city announcement that isn’t new at all

Plans for a garden city in Kent are little more than a rehash of a 2012 idea.

Chancellor George Osborne has said that the announcement of Britain’s “first garden city” will be made in the Budget on Wednesday.

The new garden city is to be built in Ebbsfleet in Kent, and will provide 15,000 new homes.

In making the announcement, the chancellor has said that Britain must “get building” to secure the economic recovery; and the plans for the garden city are intended to do just that.

Yet perhaps like me you got a sense of deja vu upon hearing the name Ebbsfleet.

This wasn’t a mere coincidence.

Back in 2012, the government made another announcement on house building. Or more specifically, an announcement on the building of 22,600 new homes in…Ebbsfleet.


In fact, the latest announcement appears to be little more than a rehash of the 2012 pledge, except that this time around the government is aiming for 15,000 rather than 20,000 homes.

And why has the target been revised downwards? Well, perhaps because just 150 homes have so far been built at Ebbsfleet.

Not that any of this should come as a huge surprise: last year, under the coalition, house completions in Britain fell to 107,000 – the lowest level since the 1920s.
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