Ebbsfleet: What you need to know about Britain's new garden city

C904eaaa62327be01009da82a78bef34_normal

We're going to invest £200m to support 15,000 new homes and create the first Garden City for almost 100 years in Ebbsfleet Kent

George Osborne may have announced plans for a 15,000-home garden city, but few beyond Kent will know much about the area. Here are five facts by way of an introduction:

1. A new town was already planned there

Straddling the Ebbsfleet River on the border of the boroughs of Gravesham and Dartford, original plans for the new Ebbsfleet Valley community were for a population of around 40,000.

Progress towards that goal has been slow, critics say, but a project proposing around 6,000 homes at Eastern Quarry was approved in August last year.

2. You can get to Belgium in two hours...

A trip to Brussels takes just under two hours on the Eurostar from Ebbsfleet International - the new, high-speed station which opened in 2007.

A map showing the journey from Ebbsfleet to St Pancras
Ebbsfleet to St Pancras takes only 19 minutes on High Speed 1. Credit: Google Maps

3. ... and central London in 18 minutes

Thanks to High Speed 1, a train into St Pancras International takes just 18-19 minutes, while you can get to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford in 12 minutes.

4. It may soon have its own theme park

In October 2012, Paramount film studios announced plans for a huge theme park and entertainment precinct in Swanscombe, tipped to rival Disneyland Paris.

The site is due to open in 2018 and was projected to create up to 27,000 jobs.

Computer generated model of the proposed Paramount entertainment complex Credit: Vision XS
Computer generated model of the proposed Paramount entertainment complex. Credit: Vision XS

5. It's the original home of multiculturalism... maybe

Before the building of its train station, an archaeological dig on the site found the skeleton of a Straight Tusked Elephant , which researchers think may have been killed by hominins 400,000 years ago.

These early humans are thought to have originated from Africa, and considering the rarity of the finding, Ebbsfleet's elephant is one of the few sites of such early multiculturalism found in Britain.

Read: Osborne plans first new garden city in 100 years