As part of the nation’s efforts to meet the demand for much-needed housing, the Government has identified Otterpool Park as a potential major garden town community.
In February 2019, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government approved the allocation of £1.25m to the project, the largest sum granted to any of the 21 proposed garden town schemes nationally.
With its 8,500 homes, Otterpool Park will deliver a substantial proportion of the district’s ‘Objectively Assessed Housing Need’ of between now and 2031 and, importantly, will deliver the necessary accompanying job opportunities and infrastructure. The location has attractive transport connectivity via road and rail, including its proposed access to link to HS1, which takes passengers by train to London in under an hour.
Promoters of Otterpool Park are focusing on the following benefits of the scheme:
• A development providing extensive open space, including the provision of a wide range of green spaces – from urban squares and parks, sports provision and allotments to gardens. Approximately 50% of the site area is proposed to be green infrastructure
• Provision of a wide range of housing types, including affordable
• Creation of jobs during both the construction of the development and once the new settlement is complete, equating to approximately 9,000 new jobs (taking into account part-time workers)
• Community facilities to complement existing provision, including a health centre and nursery, primary and secondary schools
• Creation of new attractive, sustainable and connected neighbourhoods that fit in well with existing communities and will provide people in the local area, including new residents of the garden settlement, with improved amenities
• Homes within short walking distance of shops, local amenities and services, as well as connections via bus and rail to the wider area
• Neighbourhood walking routes will be complemented by an extensive network of new cycle routes within the development, connecting with existing routes in the local area
• Homes built to modern environmental standards through sustainable design promoting reduced energy consumption, water efficiencies, renewable and low carbon technologies
• Creation of a range of employment opportunities, within higher quality and more accessible employment locations with scope for more highly skilled jobs
• Enhanced existing heritage and landscape features so they can be readily enjoyed, for example, creation of a heritage trail
• Protection for certain vulnerable heritage assets from gradual erosion and active management of built heritage assets
• An innovative development that embraces the opportunities from the changing energy market and its technologies
• A development that delivers a 20% biodiversity net gain across the whole site
• Enhancement of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (former Otterpool Quarry) within a proposed woodland country park
• Health benefits, including local access to work and training, social interaction, access to healthy food choices, a range of housing types, and open space and nature.
More information is available at www.otterpoolpark.org