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Can garden villages help improve the UK’s housing crisis?

17th January 2018 Print

The state of the UK’s housing sector is a point of contention for everyone, from people in government to members of the public. According to a survey conducted by Knight Frank, an independent real estate consultancy, only 33% of housebuilders stated that they believed more than 200,000 homes could be built in England annually by 2022 if market conditions stayed the same. With the government setting a target of one million new UK homes by 2020, this lack of confidence is disappointing for people looking to buy. 

So, what can be done? One solution that’s building momentum within government and industry is garden villages, which are new communities built on pieces of brownfield land. To dig deeper into the issue, this article investigates the rising trend of garden villages, their regional implications and their potential for boosting the UK’s housing problems.

What defines a garden village? 

Made up of around 1,500 to 10,000 homes, garden villages are created away from main towns and cities. In theory, no two garden villages are the same, as they’re allowed to establish their own identity and can be of various sizes with a variety of industry and agricultural facilities within them. To boost their self-reliance and independence, 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. 

The government and garden villages

The definition of a garden village is relatively flexible. However, a garden village must be a community outside of an existing town or city to qualify. Currently, the British government is 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).

Interestingly, the locations for these new building projects are scattered across the UK. Sites include: Essex, Cumbria, Devon, Lancaster, Hampshire, Merseyside, Oxfordshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Cheshire East, East Northants, Runnymede and Surrey Heath, Cornwall, and Stratford-on-Avon. Plans are also in place to build garden towns in Aylesbury, Taunton, and Harlow and Gilston, which are expected to provide an extra 200,000 homes.

How garden villages could affect UK regions and communities 

Any new government-backed venture comes under scrutiny for how it will affect public services, jobs and the economy in general. However, the predictions seem positive for garden villages. Since these building projects will supply Britain with more than 50,000 homes, we should witness a rise in manual work and job opportunities in these regions, which will help to drive money to several parts of the UK.

What about population rises in specific areas of the UK? There is an idea that building new communities will instantly put a strain on the resources of current nearby residents, such as finding school places for children and obtaining doctor appointments. However, this should not be a problem. Garden villages are built with their own facilities, including schools and general practices, so they have the potential to instead cause the creation of more jobs and facilities in a district rather than put a strain on current services.

Regarding traffic and commuting numbers, we might see a negative effect with the rise of garden villages. Although, this could potentially be controlled if the garden village has its own transport links and roads for commuting in and out of the area.

Garden villages: current trends

It’s not only the government, housing sector and property-buyers that are likely to be excited for the rise of garden villages. With people moving into new homes featuring plenty of green space, there’s likely to be a need for updating garden furniture and other outdoor products, which is great news for retailers in the gardening industry. Here are a few gardening trends we expect to catch on with the creation of more garden villages:


Believed to have “high potential growth” in the industry, according to market research company AMA, a sunhouse is ideal for making the most of a garden and creating extra space for families without paying for an expensive house extension. 

Hot tubs

Even though we’ve already seen a rise in popularity, the sale of hot tubs is likely to increase even further with the advent of new gardens. These are great additions to any garden, especially if you have a rural view of the surrounding countryside.


If you’re planning on making the most of your garden, you need to make sure you’ve created the perfect environment for enjoying it. Products such as composite decking boards are weather-resistant and very low maintenance, which means you can create a safe and durable decking space to enjoy the outdoors at any time of year. 

Antique furniture 

Rather than going for ultra-modern, garden furniture is set to travel back in time. Traditional materials used for tables and chairs — such as teak and rattan — are poised to make a comeback for a more rustic look, and many garden centres will see a rise in sales of furniture featuring woven and crochet techniques. 


From soft Chinese lanterns to twinkling LED fairy lights, an increase in garden spaces will heighten the demand for outdoor illuminations. 

Fake grass

Get ready to see a rise in artificial lawns. As homeowners gain garden spaces to look after, there’s sure to be a rise in people looking for an option to help with garden maintenance. 

Overall, research suggests that the rise in garden villages will have a positive impact on many parts of society and industry. Even with the few points of concern, such as a rise in local traffic, this is potentially a huge boost for families, communities and the entire UK economy.