State could 
make good 
losses over 
garden cities plan

Homeowners could be compensated by the state if the value of their property falls as a result new garden cities, to encourage them to accept a development in their area, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said.

Mr Clegg suggested that affected households could receive council tax rebates during the construction period, or may be able to sell their homes to the state at guaranteed prices.

The Deputy Prime Minister announced plans in April for a new generation of garden cities to ease the demand for housing in the south of England. It is expected that up to three cities of at least 15,000 homes will be built in the South-East, though no locations have yet been selected.

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Mr Clegg said he wants a shortlist of potential locations published by the end of the year.

Speaking to BBC1’s Countryfile, the Deputy Prime Minister said it was important to safeguard house prices in areas chosen.

“We could maybe give deductions on their council tax for the period of time during which the garden city’s being built,” he said.

“We could possibly also say to those homes where they think the price of their home will be affected, we will guarantee the price of their home by buying it, if you like, upfront.”

Mr Clegg promised that Ministers would “go the extra mile to allay those concerns of people who feel that their property or the price of their home might be affected”, adding: “We don’t want people to lose out.”

In April Mr Clegg said there was an ‘’arc of prosperity’’ stretching from Oxford to Cambridge where many people wanted to live but were unable to find or afford houses. He said then that he wanted a revival of the “vision” which saw a string of new towns, including Milton Keynes, Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, built after the Second World War.