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Housebuilders buy land for ?1bn worth of homes at Ebbsfleet

Housebuilders have bought land for ?1bn worth of homes in the latest phase of the development of the new Government-backed garden city at Ebbsfleet - the largest land purchase since the project's inception.
Countryside Properties, Clarion Housing Group and Barratt Homes have struck a deal to buy land for 2,900 homes from landowner Henley Camland, which confirmed it had taken over the sites from original owner Landsec just last week.
The cost of the land is understood to be just under ?300m to the housebuilders, with the finished value of the sites nearing ?1bn.
Development of a new settlement at Ebbsfleet was first proposed by then-chancellor George Osborne in his 2014 Budget speech. The garden city will be the first in the UK for more than 100 years and was intended to alleviate some of the housing shortage in the South East.
Number of homes planned for Ebbsfleet Garden City
But the project has taken longer than expected to get off the ground: of the 15,000 homes planned for site, only around 805 had been completed at the start of this year.
The housebuilders have bought the land in an area called Eastern Quarry, one of the three main ‘villages’ at Ebbsfleet, where three new schools, shops and community facilities are also planned.
Iain McPherson, managing director at Countryside Properties, said the development would offer “exceptional quality of life” thanks to its transport links and the nearby Bluewater shopping centre.
Countryside is already developing an additional 800 homes at another site within the wider development, while this will be Barratt’s fourth site purchase at Ebbsfleet.
Housebuilders buy land for ?1bn worth of homes at Ebbsfleet

Bluewater shopping centre is nearby
The viability of the site as a potential new settlement was given a boost in 2007 when Ebbsfleet International railway station was opened, opening up high speed services to Kings Cross St Pancras and Stratford, as well as Eurostar services to Europe.
Earlier this week London mayor Sadiq Khan said that options to extend the new Crossrail line to Ebbsfleet were “still being developed”, adding that Transport for London had started discussions with Network Rail over using existing track.
Henley Camland will market the rest of the land it owns in the coming months. Peter Nelson, the company's managing director, said: "We... will be starting significant earthmoving and infrastructure projects next month to really open up the site and offer new and different development parcels.”
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