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New towns in the United Kingdom: Map


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Below is a list of some of the new towns in the United Kingdom created under the various New Town Acts of the 20th century. Some earlier towns were developed as Garden Cities or overspill estates early in the twentieth century. The New Towns proper were planned to disperse population following the second world war under the powers of the New Towns Act 1946 and later acts. They were not in fact new, but developed around historic cores. Later developments included the Expanded Towns.

Designated new towns were removed from local-authority control and placed under the supervision of a Development Corporation. The Corporations were later disbanded and their assets split between local authorities and, in Englandmarker, the Commission for New Towns (now English Partnerships).

Garden cities

Overspill estates


First wave

The first wave was to help alleviate the housing shortages following World War II, in the green belt around Londonmarker. A couple of sites in County Durham were also designated. These designations were made under the New Towns Act 1946.

  • Basildonmarker, Essex (designated 4 January 1949)
  • Bracknellmarker, Berkshire (designated 17 June 1949)
  • Corbymarker, Northamptonshire (designated 1 April 1950)
  • Crawleymarker, Sussex (designated 9 January 1947)
  • Harlowmarker, Essex (designated 25 March 1947)
  • Hemel Hempsteadmarker, Hertfordshire (designated 4 February 1947)
  • Newton Aycliffemarker, County Durham (designated 19 April 1947 as Aycliffe New Town)
  • Peterleemarker, County Durham (designated 10 March 1948, as Easington New Town)
  • Stevenagemarker, Hertfordshire (designated 1 November 1946)
  • Welwyn Garden Citymarker and Hatfieldmarker, Hertfordshire (both designated 20 May 1948)

Second wave

The second wave (1961–64) was initiated to help assuage housing shortfalls. Two of the below (Redditch and Dawley New Town—later renamed Telfordmarker) are situated near the West Midlands conurbationmarker; another two (Runcorn and Skelmersdale) are situated near Merseyside.

  • Dawley New Townmarker, Shropshire (designated 16 January 1963)
  • Redditch, Worcestershire (designated 10 April 1964)
  • Runcornmarker, Cheshire (designated 10 April 1964)
  • Skelmersdalemarker, Lancashire (designated 9 October 1961)
  • Washingtonmarker, Tyne and Wear (designated 24 July 1964)

Cramlingtonmarker and Killingworthmarker were constructed from the 1960s by local authorities but were not designated new towns.

Third wave

The third and last wave of new towns (1967–70) allowed for additional growth chiefly further north from the previous London new towns, with a few developments between Liverpool and Manchester. Dawley New Town was re-designated as Telford New Town, with a much larger area.

Modern developments

No new towns have been formally designated since 1970, but several new towns (in the literal sense) have been founded:


  • Cwmbranmarker (designated 4 November 1949)
  • Newtownmarker (designated 18 December 1967)

Modern developments


Future Developments

Northern Ireland

The New Towns Act 1965 gave the Minister of Development of the Government of Northern Ireland the power to designate an area as a New Town, and to appoint a Development Commission. An order could be made to transfer municipal functions of all or part of any existing local authorities to the commission, which took the additional title of urban district council, although unelected. This was done in the case of Craigavon.

The New Towns Amendment Act 1968 was passed to enable the establishment of the Londonderry Development Commission to replace the County Boroughmarker and rural district of Londonderry, and implement the Londonderry Area Plan. On April 3, 1969 the development commission took over the municipal functions of the two councils, the area becoming Londonderry Urban District.

  • Craigavonmarker (designated 26 July 1965)
  • Derrymarker (designated 5 February 1969) (see above)

Future developments

On 13 May 2007, Gordon Brown, who was shortly to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced that he would designate ten new "eco-towns" to ease demand for low-cost housing. The towns, of approximately 20,000 population each—at least 5000 homes—are planned to be "carbon-neutral" and will use locally generated sustainable-energy sources. Only one site was identified in the announcement: the former Oakington Barracks in Cambridgeshire. Local councils will be invited to provide sites for the remaining four towns.

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) is advising the Government on the criteria and best practice in developing the eco-towns by producing a series of "worksheets" for developers.

See also


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