Garden Cities plan as Clegg looks to reopen railway lines to help build new homes

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REOPENING a railway line will pave the way for 50,000 new homes, the Liberal Democrats have said.

Nick Clegg will today promise a Lib Dem Government would re-open the Oxford to Cambridge Rail Link in full as the “Garden Cities Line”.

The line would make it possible to expand three to five of the towns along the route.

Reopening the line would also benefit some key Lib Dem constituencies, such as the Cambridge seat set to be fiercely defended in 2015.

Announcing the move, Mr Clegg said: “Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg said: “Britain faces a housing crisis. Every day, 200 fewer families own their own home, as home owners die and more young families get stuck renting, unable to afford to buy.

“Housebuilding is stuck in the doldrums, with nowhere near enough homes being built to meet demand and keep prices affordable for those families desperate for a home of their own.”

He added: “The Conservatives have held back the development of Garden Cities on the scale necessary, but if Liberal Democrats are part of the next government, we will ensure at least ten get underway – with up to five along this new Garden Cities Railway, bringing new homes and jobs to the brain-belt of South East England.”

Homes will have to be built on the Garden Cities principle, Mr Clegg said,requiring houses are built to a high quality, sustainable development with accessible green space and gardens.

The new line would also reduce journey times between Oxford and Cambridge by around 60 minutes.

The Garden Cities plan is part of an overall aim of boosting house building by 300,000 a year in the next parliament.