November 22, 2012 12:02 am

Clegg promises ‘garden cities and suburbs’

Nick Clegg will on Thursday reaffirm the coalition’s promise to create “garden cities and suburbs for the 21st century”, promising the government will offer incentives for the creation of imaginative new settlements.

The deputy prime minister will argue that Britain must “build its way out” of a housing crisis, insisting it is no longer good enough to think of small scale developments on the edge of towns.

In a speech to the housing sector, Mr Clegg will say there is a “lively debate” inside the coalition on the best way for the government to give developers and councils incentives to build the new towns.

“I want us to make the best offers to the most ambitious proposals,” Mr Clegg will say. “So not just 5,000 new homes but 15,000, 25,000. I want us to encourage projects which are sustainable and socially diverse.”

To offset criticism of new building in the countryside, Mr Clegg will say that garden cities would be an antidote to urban sprawl from existing centres, adding: “Where it makes sense I want us to designate more, new greenbelts around settlements.”

The idea of garden cities was floated by David Cameron earlier this year, but the coalition has yet to show how it intends to turn the rhetoric into reality.

Meanwhile, Mr Clegg will announce that £225m of government money will be used to unlock stalled housing developments, vowing that the money would be returned to the taxpayer once the houses were built.

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