New Garden City implementation framework launched

The new Ebbsfleet Garden City implementation framework was launched at Minerva House in London Bridge on 22 September, during an event which also showcased the first issue of Ebbsfleet Garden City magazine.

Speakers at the venue included Michael Cassidy, chairman of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC), Paul Spooner, interim chief executive of EDC, and David Testa, CEO of London Paramount, the entertainment resort which is planned for the garden city.

Cassidy said: “We are there to build 15,000 homes and the town centre and create the jobs that are necessary for a district like that. We have got the professionals and the talent that we need to move forward with construction at a decent pace and meet the targets that this government and its predecessor have set.”

He also praised Ebbsfleet Garden City magazine, the new publication tracking development in the Garden City, describing it as a “quality production, a professional journal which has got a great future”.

Spooner said that the key word for the EDC was collaboration: “We are the development control authority, but we are not land owners. Therefore everything we do is in partnership.

“We work through strong and – I’m pleased to say – increasingly successful partnerships with everybody in the private and public sector: the landowners, the developers, our partners like Paramount, the county council, local authorities, the treasury.”

Spooner announced the plans for the upcoming years, saying: “We now have five house builders on site, we have a sixth one who got consent last night, we have a seventh and eight developers who have their plans going to committee in the next few months.

“We are sure that early next year we will have eight builders on site and will be building 1,000 homes a year towards the target of 15,000.”

But he stressed that the EDC was “not just about housing”: “We are also about making it a true garden city. That means we have got to have a city centre.

“We are looking to unlock the commercial sector and 560,000sq m of business space is already consented: that’s about a third of Canary Wharf. We are close to London, close to the continent and have access to a good labour market.

“Celebrating the landscape and the heritage will be key. We want to improve movement within the Garden City and make sure we focus on the centres.”

He announced that King’s College University of London was keen to work on a new centre of excellence for medical education and research: “Ebbsfleet is not only a place which is well connected, but they believe it is also a good place for education.”

Testa said that London Paramount was about “taking an industrial brownfield site and turn it into a global destination entertainment resort, Britain’s first world class theme park.”

He added that, when fully developed, the resort will have 14 million visitors per annum, create 33,000 jobs, 25,000-27,000 of which full time.

The event at Minerva House was sponsored by Redrow Homes. Mike Tynan, the company’s area construction manager, said Ebbsfleet Green, part of the Garden City, was Redrow’s flagship site in the southeast.

“We already have consent for 908 units, along with a school, football pitches, pavilions and commercial outlets. A showroom launched in early August, and we are already sold out on what we released. Demand is very strong: we had people coming from London and from the coast.”

He also announced that the company had so much confidence in the Garden City that it was moving its southeast head office to Ebbsfleet in 2018-2019.

The new Ebbsfleet implementation framework is available here.