Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Where would Ed Miliband’s first New Town go?

Ed Miliband has been singing the praises of New Towns in tonight’s Standard, saying a Labour government would use these developments to help solve London’s housing crisis. He writes:

‘A key plank will be creating new towns in sustainable locations where people want to live, just like earlier generations did in places such as Stevenage and Milton Keynes. Labour will kick-start the next generation of new towns and garden cities around the capital to ease the pressure on London.’

Although he doesn’t say it, it’s a reasonably safe bet that the Labour leader is thinking of Ebbsfleet when he talks about a sustainable location where people want to live. That’s where Lord Adonis, who is leading Labour’s growth review, has set his sights for a new development.

Last week the Labour peer launched a collection of essays on New Towns which he has edited. Go East: unlocking the potential of the Thames Estuary follows Adonis’ year-long review of development in the Thames Gateway area. It includes an essay on lessons from Milton Keynes (incidentally, this week’s Spectator includes praise for that particular new town), and says:

‘A large New Town project should be started in the Thames estuary in order to kick-start major development and to demonstrate what is possible when delivery is properly organised and overseen. This is our most far-reaching recommendation.

‘Ebbsfleet, between Dartford and Gravesend in north Kent, appears to us the prime candidate. Ebbsfleet has three characteristics which make it ideal for immediate designation as a New Town, if it were given a powerful Development Corporation on the Milton Keynes model to take forward development using the staged, build-under-license approach outlined above.

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