Earlier this year the Government announced a period of consultation concerning Ebbsfleet Garden City. The proposals include the creation of a statutory body – the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (“EDC”) which it is hoped will coordinate investment and development in the area.
The intention is that the EDC will have the power to determine planning applications within the affected area but will not have plan making powers. Much has been made of the fact that EDC will have powers of compulsory purchase. Large parts of Dartford and Gravesham are earmarked to be included in the EDC including important sites such as the Land Securities Ebbsfleet Valley and Swanscombe Peninsula (the site of the proposed Paramount development).
The intention is for the EDC to have a fund of £200 million available for the project including infrastructure projects. How this fund can be accessed will be determined in 2015 along with issues such as the powers of the EDC, its constitution and the definitive site boundary.
It will be interesting to see how the EDC can influence development in an area that has great potential and, more importantly, planning consent for thousands of new homes. Will the EDC be able to help solve some of the issues that have been holding back development over recent history? Will it have sufficient powers to influence the design of the properties and communities being created so that something more that just a housing development is left behind?
Thomson Snell & Passmore sponsored a Design: South East workshop focussing on issues such as these and, as the only major law firm on the ground in the area, will be at the centre of the debate as matters progress. Businesses/land owners in and around the affected area should feel free to contact us to discuss any concerns or questions they have.