0 'Garden cities' competition finalists announced

prpicFive finalists in a competition to design a new garden city have been announced.

The eventual winner of the Wolfson Economics Prize will receive £250,000.

Of the shortlisted contenders, only housing charity Shelter specified a site for its development - on Kent's Hoo peninsula in south-east England.

Lord Simon Wolfson - the man behind the prize and boss of retail chain Next - said garden cities could create jobs, homes and promote economic growth.

Garden cities are seen by some as a solution to the UK's housing shortage.

Some 27 new UK towns were built after World War Two, including Stevenage, Harlow, Milton Keynes, Corby, Cwmbran, Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee and Cumbernauld.

So-called "garden cities" were designed with large amounts of green space as a solution to an accommodation shortage caused by bomb damage, stagnation in the construction industry, returning service personnel and a baby boom.

'Crack housing crisis'

There have been calls for another generation of new towns, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently pledging up to three would be built - on as yet unidentified sites.

The number of households in England is expected to grow by about 221,000 every year this decade.

But the number of homes being built is lagging behind - with the construction of 112,630 completed between April 2013 and March this year.

Lord Wolfson said the entries to his competition proved gardencities could "crack Britain's housing crisis".

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