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Council leader optimistic about Ebbsfleet garden city as

PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 March 2014

Ebbsfleet International station.

Ebbsfleet International station.

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When Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to create what is being described as Britain's first garden city in a century, his positivity was evident.

He has shown obvious enthusiasm for the plan, which would involve an initial 15,000 homes being built by the Thames Estuary at Ebbsfleet.

It has long been a proposed housing site, with developers lured by the promise of a 20-minute high-speed rail connection to central London.

Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite shares Mr Osborne’s positive thinking, but insists that it needs to be done in the correct way.

“It comes with some caveats. We need to make sure that they keep their promises with regards to quality,” he said.

“We don’t want this to be just about housing, it has to be about the whole community.”

Though Ebbsfleet has been identified as a housing development site for about 10 years, it has been a lengthy process with only about 150 homes being built.

Mr Osborne has said that he will help to speed up the process by starting an urban development corporation, with the mandate being to build 15,000 homes providing accommodation for between 23,000 and 34,000 people.

House building was one of the cornerstone issues of his pre-election budget.

Announcing the plans days before his financial statement, Mr Osborne told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “It is not something this country has attempted for decades.

“Britain has to up its ambition, Britain has to up its game.”

Cllr Kite says that the infrastructure also needs to be considered, such as making sure that roads are at an acceptable standard so people are able to travel without delay.

“It’s a very simple message. The most important thing is local integration.

“They have got to build it from the ground up, listening and talking to local people,” he said.

He is optimistic and the plans and “very confident” that the development would be a success.

“After the announcement on Wednesday, they do seem to be moving fast. They seem to be keeping their promises so far,” he said.

A statement released by Land Securities, the commercial property company which owns the area where the homes will be built, said: “Land Securities welcomes the government’s announcement that it will be consulting on the creation of an urban development corporation for Ebbsfleet Valley.

“The new arrangements should make it easier, quicker and cheaper to deliver a new garden city at Ebbsfleet and provide thousands of much- needed new homes in the south-east.”

Let us know what you think of the latest plans by emailing feedback@gravesendreporter.co.uk.

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