AMBITIONS for a government-backed 2,000-home garden village have been revealed in a proposed list of must-have requirements for the development alongside a warning not to lose an opportunity to improve residents’ health and wellbeing.

Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet is set to consider a checklist that has been created by consultants it commissioned to ensure Burtree Garden Village or Greater Faverdale “becomes a great place”.

The partnership scheme between Homes England, developer Hellens Group and the council is also set to see about 200,000sq metres of business and industrial spaces built, together with related facilities, including a primary school.

Once approved by the authority, the strategic design code will be used to check that the proposals for the garden village meet “very high design quality thresholds”.

The report by consultants Designe Ltd highlights how Darlington’s selection as a Healthy New Town in a government pilot scheme had significantly contributed to innovative thinking to improve health and well-being through the built environment in the borough.

It states: “The proposed garden village presents the first large-scale opportunity to embed the learning from the Healthy New Towns programme, Putting Health into Place, with innovative solutions to and delivery of health care and a healthy built environment. This opportunity must not be wasted.”

The report states the proposed garden village “should move the game on” and innovative thinking should be encouraged in all aspects of the planning, design and future occupation and use of the village.

Focusing on travel to and from the garden village, the report states one fifth of journeys made by Darlington residents are no further than 1km and nearly one half of journeys less than 3km.

It states: “Darlington is a town of short journeys. The message the garden village will demonstrate from the first to last phases is one that cycling, and walking are at the heart of this place and an instinctive choice for all ages from eight to 80 undertaking everyday short journeys.”

The report adds “there is no reason why the whole village network development should not be designed for a maximum 20mph speed”.