15 ‘millennial’ towns needed to house London commuters

The government needs to help build 15 new ‘millennial’ towns in commuting distance of London to help young people priced out of the capital’s property market, according to a leading think tank.

In a new report, the Policy Exchange claims a cluster of new towns on the edge of the capital could provide much-needed affordable homes for millennials working in London.

The think tank urges the government to create a new Whitehall ministry – the Department for Growth – which could work with the mayor of London and developers to build the new towns.

In addition, it adds the department could also have responsibility for the Cambridge/Milton Keynes/Oxford corridor, the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine

The report says that each new town built should meet public demands for more beautiful housing development, increase people’s access to green space and provide millennials with discounted home ownership.

It also recommends setting up development corporations to lead the delivery of millennial towns through ‘secure partnerships’ with the private sector.

The report also calls for the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to be amended to allow for the creation of strategic plans for the five growth corridors that extend out of London.

‘A generation of new millennial towns is needed to relieve the acute shortage of housing in London,’ said report co-author, Jack Airey.

‘This requires the government, the mayor of London and places just beyond the capital’s edge to work much more closely with both each other and the private sector to deliver places that people find beautiful and that are cherished for centuries to come.

‘It also requires a more reasoned discussion around how we use the doughnut of Green Belt land around the capital,’ added Mr Airey.

‘Most of this land deserves the utmost protection from development, but a significant chunk of farming and scrub land does not. Polling evidence suggests a large majority of people from London and the South East, whether they are young renters or old homeowners, will support new towns being built in this area if they are built to a high standard and in ways the public find beautiful.’

‘Government ministers and the mayor of London should feel confident that a new millennial towns programme will address London’s housing crisis in a popular way at the same time as protecting green space.’

Labour’s shadow housing minister, John Healey MP said the report ‘rightly identifies the need for government to do more to ensure we build the new homes needed in London and the South East’.

‘To get more low-cost homes built across England, the next Labour government will start a new generation of new towns and garden cities,’ added Mr Healey.


The Policy Exchange report – Tomorrow’s Places – is available to read here.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top