The New Towns Act 1946 (9 & 10 Geo. VI c. 68) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which allowed the government to designate areas as new towns, and passing development control functions to a Development Corporation. Several new towns were created in the years following its passing. The Act was replaced by the New Towns Act 1965 and, later, the New Towns Act 1981.
The 1944 Abercrombie Plan for London proposed eight new towns within 50 miles (80 km) of London for up to 500,000 people from inner London. Similar recommendations were made for other major conurbations including Manchester and Birmingham. The 1945 Attlee Government set up a New Towns Commission to formally consider how best to repair and rebuild urban communities ravaged in World War II.
In 1945 John Reith, 1st Baron Reith was appointed as chair of the New Towns Commission. The commission concluded that there was a need to construct new towns using the instrument of development corporations supported by central government. The New Towns Act 1946 cemented this vision in 1946 and New Towns were born.
The 1946 Act was extensively revised in 1965 and 1981.
The Reith Commission recommended that:
The act set up New Town Development Corporations which were responsible for the management, design and development of New Towns. These were Public Corporations financed by the Government through Treasury loans. The boards were appointed by Central Government; importantly, they were given planning and compulsory purchase order powers.
Their first task was to draw up development frameworks for a mix of housing, offices, industrial development, transport infrastructure and open space.
New Towns were developed in three generations.
The following towns were created under the New Towns Act:
The following towns were expanded on a large scale according to plans brought about from the act:
Overall about 2 million people are housed in the New Towns in about 500,000 homes.
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