A piece of Dubai could be created in Kent

A series of man-made islands like the iconic Palm in Dubai could be created in the UK’s first Garden City in 100 years.

A huge lake in Ebbsfleet Garden City in North Kent could be turned into an oasis where people would be able to grow and pick their own fruit and vegetables, visit an adventure playground for all ages or take part in sporting activities.

The series of islands would all be linked by walkways and one of them would be become an arts and culture island where open air productions and gigs could take place.

Floating hotel pods and an innovation area for start-up businesses would also be included as well as the Garden City’s very own beach.

And floating “eco islands” would encourage wildlife to live at the site in a series of insect hotels, bee hives and bat boxes.

The existing lake, which measures across 12 hectares, is currently inaccessible for the local community but could now be opened up and transformed.

The idea was the winning entry in an international landscape competition.

Called HALO, (Hives, Arcs, Links, Organics) the ambitious design would become one of the Garden City’s most prominent features.

Judges said HALO demonstrated exactly what they had hoped for – a design that was radical, but realisable.  The panel was also excited by its possibilities, particularly because the design reflected the founder of the garden city movement, Ebenezer Howard’s concept of the best of town and country life.

Managed by The Landscape Institute, on behalf of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and NHS England’s Healthy New Towns project, the second phase of the Ebbsfleet Design Challenge focused on the Blue Lake site within the Garden City.

Now bosses at the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation which is overseeing the plans for up to 15,000 homes and a vibrant new city centre, will look at how the scheme can be incorporated to be a dominant feature along with six other new city parks across the site.

Kevin McGeough, Director of Ebbsfleet Garden City’s Healthy New Towns project, said:

“This exciting and inspiring design exceeded  our expectations.  We have been encouraged by the innovation and the wide variety of approaches in this scheme.

“The winning design could become one of the country’s most talked about and visited attractions.”

As well as new homes, the Garden City’s first primary school, Cherry Orchard, has already opened and the area has its first pub and hotel.

Work has also started on a new bridge which will connect residents to Ebbsfleet International and cut down their walking time to the station from 25 minutes to eight, as well as series of new walk and cycle ways which will link all parts of the Garden City.