A SIX-figure funding boost has brought a new garden village a step closer.

Hart District Council (HDC) has been successful in its bid to join the Government’s Garden Communities programme, receiving £150,000 on June 27, in its first year.

The programme has been set up by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to help meet demand for new homes in England.

The council submitted the bid in November 2018 based on the area of Winchfield and Murrell Green, and given the operational name of Shapley Heath Garden Village.

The proposal outlined the aim to create a community of up to 5,000 new homes, a secondary school, as well as a range of other school, healthcare, employment and retail aspects, to be delivered by 2042.

There would also be a new country park, sports facilities and play parks. The cash will be used to help develop design and layout proposals.

Councillor David Neighbour, leader of the district council, said: “We welcome this announcement as it is an encouraging step forward to work with our local communities to create a new village in Hart that addresses future needs.

“This programme is about more than building new homes, it’s about delivering appropriate infrastructure, such as schools, transport, and health and community facilities.

“The funding and support that we’ll receive as a designated garden community will allow a truly locally led approach, developing plans for a new community that is sustainable, beautiful and benefits from the right infrastructure – provided at the right time – together with spaces that promote wellbeing and enhances biodiversity.”

This programme will work separately to the council’s Local Plan, which is due to go to the final round of consultation shortly.

Cllr Neighbour added: “We still have some way to go with the programme, but this announcement gives us the green light to pursue the creation of a garden community.”

Garden communities are intended to create new housing, infrastructure, jobs and services within sustainable communities.

Shapley Heath Garden Village was one of 19 successful bids to the programme.