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Wednesday May 1 2019

Garden villages - can they solve the housing crisis?

Garden villages - can they solve the housing crisis?

It’s no secret that the UK is currently in the throes of a housing crisis. One solution that has turned some heads comes in the form of garden villages. But what exactly does this entail?

In this piece, garden decking boards supplier, Abordeck, investigates this potential answer to the housing crisis.

Garden villages

A garden village is a new community created on brownfield land. They are usually smaller projects and can contain from 1,500 to 10,000 homes. Often, garden villages have their own facilities — such as schools, shops and transport stations — which makes this type of living space perfect for families and first-time buyers looking to lead the picture-perfect life.

These villages are not strictly defined one way or another, as the purpose is to encourage the community to create their own identity. However, there are a few ways to identify them. They must be a settlement outside of an existing town or city and not closely attached. The British government is currently supporting 17 locations around the country, with £6 million expected to go towards funding 14 new garden villages and £1.4 million to support three garden towns (which are similar to garden villages, only larger).

The prospective list of areas is varied. There are set to be garden villages established in Cumbria, Lancaster, Cheshire East, Merseyside, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Stratford-on-Avon, East Northants, Oxfordshire, Essex, Devon, Runnymede and Surrey Heath, Hampshire, and Cornwall. Plans are also in place to build garden towns in Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow, and Gilston. These towns are anticipated to provide an extra 200,000 homes.

Regional effects

With 50,000 houses needing to be built for these garden villages, manual work requirements will rise in regions where these projects are set to begin. This will help to boost the economy, as it will provide people with more jobs in the area.

Plus, these regions will see an increase in numbers once the houses are purchased. There is a popular misconception that this will put a strain on the resources of current residents nearby, such as school places for their children and obtaining doctor appointments. However, this is not the case, as garden villages are built with their own facilities including schools and general practices. In turn, this will also create more jobs in the area of development.

Although garden villages are built with integrated transport links, one regional downside could be an increase in traffic on the roads.

How will they look?

Being built on brownfield, these garden villages will have a lot of greenery around the homes to enjoy. With everything looking brand new, there will be a need for updated garden furniture and other outdoor products — but what are the current trends?

There’s a big trend in composite decking at the moment. With the weather at a constant change, composite decking is weather-resistant and very low maintenance, which means you don’t need to worry about repairing or repainting.

Renting and buying hot tubs is another garden trend. Over the past few years, it seems like more and more people are purchasing hot tubs for their gardens. In North Wales, a businessman has even had to double the size of his hot tub showroom this year to keep up with demand! These are a great addition to any garden, especially if you have a rural view of the surrounding countryside.

There are a number of other garden trends too. According to Andrew Hartley, research director at market research company, AMA; garden buildings including sunhouses have “high potential growth” in the industry. Sunhouses are great for maximising your garden space and creating an extra room for your family without having to pay for an expensive house extension. Typically, these are small and easy to fit into your garden with enough room for a few chairs and a table to unwind with drinks and food. Sunhouses infuse your garden with character and are excellent refuges for reading, relaxing and socialising, so these are ideal for new garden village homes.

Artificial lawns are also proving to be a popular choice. Slashing the time we have to spend maintaining our outdoor spaces and beautiful to look at from season to season, fake grass is a high-demand gardening commodity. If you’ve decked much of your back garden, you can add colour by creating a small space of artificial grass on the ground level, or putting a full artificial lawn at the front of your home that you don’t have to keep weeding and watering. 

Lighting is also setting a favourable look in gardens and outdoor spaces. From hanging Chinese lanterns between decking posts to placing LED fairy lights into vintage jam jars, how you illuminate your garden is going to be in focus. Speaking of vintage, garden furniture is set to head back in time when it comes to design and textures. We’ll see more natural, traditional materials used for tables and chairs — such as teak and rattan — to create a more rustic look, as well as a rise in woven and crochet techniques for the retro effect. Needless to say, garden village homeowners will have a lot of inspiration for their green spaces.

Garden villages certainly look promising in terms of relieving the pressure of the housing crisis. Even with the few points for concern, such as a rise in local traffic, this is potentially a huge boost for families, communities and the entire UK economy.







"...investigating the potential answer to the housing crisis."

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