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DCLG opens consultation on development corporation for new Ebbsfleet garden city

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) today opened consultation on proposals to create a development corporation to co-ordinate the development of a 15,000-home garden city at Ebbsfleet in Kent.

In March UK chancellor George Osborne announced plans to create a new garden city at Ebbsfleet. Osborne committed to provide £200 million in government funding for infrastructure in the area and proposed the creation of an urban development corporation to co-ordinate development. The government estimated that 15,000 new homes could be provided in the area, the majority of which would be on previously developed land.

In a consultation document (32-page / 835 KB PDF) published today, the DCLG invited views on the proposed creation of an Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC), including the geographical area in which it will operate, the make up of its board and the planning powers that will be granted to it.

Secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles announced that Michael Cassidy, the chairman of the City of London Property Investment Board, has been chosen by the government as chairman of the EDC. A further ten members are expected to be appointed to the corporation's board, including representatives of Dartford Borough Council, Gravesham Borough Council and Kent County Council.

It is proposed that the EDC will determine and enforce all planning applications within its boundary, including those that have not been determined by the relevant local planning authority by the time planning powers are transferred to the EDC. The corporation will have powers to purchase land on a compulsory basis under the proposals and will be able to borrow money to invest in public and private infrastructure development.

The proposed boundary of the EDC is formed around seven key strategic sites earmarked in the Dartford and Gravesham local plans for residential development. According to the document, the government does not propose a fixed life span for the EDC, but the corporation will be subject to a full review five years from its establishment.

"Locally led development is the key to unlocking growth and creating the places and communities that people actively want to be a part of," said Pickles in a statement. "Today I am pleased to appoint Michael Cassidy as chairman of the development corporation that will work with local people to develop Ebbsfleet and grow the garden city in the way that is right for the area."

Proposed EDC chairman Michael Cassidy said: "The development of Ebbsfleet is an exciting prospect, finally bringing to life an area where progress has been slow for many years and delivering the high quality homes that local people need. I look forward to working with local communities to create a place where people choose to live and lay down their roots."

The consultation will run until 6 October.

Subject to the results of the consultation, the government anticipates bringing forward secondary legislation to establish the EDC in early 2015.

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