Garden villages have been part of Britain’s urban development history over the years and it is a term used to describe new communities built in various forms. Britain first encountered garden villages around about the time of the Industrial Revolution and in recent times we have seen developments such as Poundbury located in Dorset.
In 2017, the government announced 14 new garden villages and followed this up with inviting further bids for Garden Communities Programme in 2018. Hellens Group, the lead developer on the site, submitted a bid for the Burtree development to become an official garden village and in June 2019 it was announced that their bid was successful.
Garden villages should seek to create a well-designed development with healthy places and affordable homes included. Burtree Garden Village also has a strong focus on employment too, with a substantial part of the site being allocated for employment land.
The key characteristics of a garden village which we are looking to embrace at Burtree Garden Village are:
- Clear Identity – Burtree Garden Village has tried to capture the local identities in the smaller villages located around Darlington and bring this to the development. The development has a large public realm and functioning centre at the hear of it.
- Sustainable – Burtree Garden Village offers on-site community facilities to allow the community to function self-sufficiently. From land safeguarded for a school, to an extra-care facility for the elderly, the site has the capacity to allow for future growth and meet evolving housing needs and economic needs of the local area.
- Well Designed Places – Burtree Garden Village has a vibrant mixed use community that will support a wide range of local employment types and premises as well as recreation and community facilities.
- Great Homes – Burtree Garden Village focuses on high quality and distinctive homes including a range of affordable housing and mix of tenures for all stages of life.
- Strong Local Vision and Engagement – The development has been designed with the input of local people in mind. A consultation event has already been held to shape the masterplan and further consultation is on-going during the planning process.
- Transport – The development proposals as they are have given consideration to bus links running through the site to allow future routes for public transport operators as well as the provision of footways and cycleways.
- Healthy Places – The development has incorporated Darlington’s Healthy New Town principles throughout, taking into account transport and movement, green infrastructure, healthy food choices, placemaking, economy and social infrastructure. A prime example of this is providing space for community allotments and orchards.
- Green Spaces – At the heart of Burtree Garden Village is green spaces, with a vast amount of green space provided on site for health, social and ecological benefits.
The garden communities status does not give the site automatic planning permission. The site does not yet have planning permission. However, the site is now allocated for development following the adoption of the Darlington Borough Council Local Plan in February 2022.
It is anticipated that a planning application for the first phase of development will be submitted in Winter 2022. This will include a comprehensive masterplan for the wider site to ensure that subsequent phases of development remain well aligned with the vision for the Garden Village.
In addition to the community consultation activities undertaken to date, local residents will have the opportunity to commence on the planning application once it has been submitted to Darlington Borough Council.
To ensure that the Garden Village provides homes to meet the needs of all Darlington residents 20% of the homes delivered on site will be affordable housing. There will be a wide range of tenures available including:
- Affordable Rented
- Rent to Buy
- Shared Ownership/Equity
- Discount Market Value
Our vision is for Burtree Garden Village to be recognisable for its high quality development and landscape design that respects the existing landscape setting, creating a strong connection between the new community and the surrounding environment Burtree Garden Village will also help create a new community where people can live, work and exercise, striving for a healthier and a more sustainable future.
We are embracing a number of garden village principles in to the design such as:
- Land value capture for the benefit of the community.
- Strong vision, leadership and community engagement.
- Community ownership of land and long-term stewardship of assets.
- Mixed-tenure homes and housing types that are genuinely affordable.
- Beautifully and imaginatively designed homes with gardens, combining the best of town and country to create healthy communities, and including opportunities to grow food.
- Development that enhances the natural environment, providing a comprehensive green infrastructure network and net biodiversity gains
- Strong cultural, recreational and shopping facilities in walkable, vibrant, sociable neighbourhoods.
- Integrated and accessible transport systems, with walking, cycling and public transport designed to be the most attractive forms of local transport.
Subject to obtaining planning permission, it is anticipated that works will commence on site in Summer 2023.
Transport and the local highway network has played a major role in the design of the masterplan and how it will work. Upgrades such as the proposed link road between Burtree Lane and Rotary Way will ease any additional pressures that the development might have had on the local road network. Darlington Borough Council and Highways England are statutory consultees and will be involved in the decision making process for necessary highway interventions required.
Non-motorised movement is also important within the development and we will look to incorporate public footpaths and cycleways. We will also look to link these in to the newly formed cycle way on the A68 to encourage walking and cycling.
We are also working with local stakeholders to explore the potential for a new train station on the Bishop Line to improve sustainable connections between the site and wider local destinations.
At this present moment in time, there is no requirement for a new school. Land has however been safeguarded within the development site so if a requirement does arise in the future, in particular due to the development, then the land is available to develop a school. This decision will be made by Darlington Borough Council and not the developers.
Facilities to serve the new community have been considered in the preparation of the site wide masterplan. There will be a range of facilities provided on site including:
- Local centre with larger units capable of accommodating convenience retail, healthcare uses etc.
- Village hub – village hall, shop & café / bakehouse
- Sports pitches
- Village greens
- Parks and gardens
- Play space
- Trim trails
- Amenity Open Space
- Community garden
- Public house
- Cycle paths and trails
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