‘New Towns are special places’: Housing Minister welcomes cross-party Group set to explore a healthy future for the UK’s New Towns
Marking the start of a new programme of activities, the newly instated All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on New Towns held a Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday providing an opportunity for APPG Members to share their interest in the New Towns story, with contributions from Lisa Cameron MP, Lord Richard Best, Lucy Allan MP and attendance from across sector group of parliamentarians, council leaders and private and third sector practitioners and researchers working on new communities.
In January 2022 the APPG on New Towns was reinstated, aiming to celebrate the contribution made by the UK’s 32 New Towns, and highlight the challenges and opportunities they face.
Co-chaired by Dr Lisa Cameron MP (Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) and Lord Richard Best, the APPG was first established in 2017 by Lucy Allan MP, Member for Telford (Lucy is now a Vice-Chair of the group).
In his first public speech as Housing Minister, The Rt Hon Stuart Andrew, Minster of State for Housing, spoke at the Reception. The Minister celebrated the positive contribution of the post-war New Towns, praising them as special places; well designed with infrastructure planned in from the start. He recognised the opportunity for some of the existing New Towns to contribute to the government’s Levelling Up agenda. Noting the government’s support for current programmes of new community projects, the Minister remarked on the importance of seeing what has worked well and learning from what has not to inform the creation of new places. ‘I look forward to working with the APPG on New Towns’, he added.
Dr. Lisa Cameron said:
‘The New Towns are in fact no longer ‘new’ but are established, living places. Like many New Towns, East Kilbride in my constituency is celebrating a landmark 75th anniversary this year. The APPG will provide an opportunity to celebrate distinctiveness and explore the common renewal challenges and growth opportunities of our communities. We look forward to working with New Town MPs from across the UK to shine a light on these unique places’
2021 marked the 75th anniversary of the New Towns Act 1946, which led to the delivery of 32 New Towns across the UK which are today home to 2.8 million people. The Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA), which provides the Secretariat for the Group, has been exploring the lessons from the New Towns programme, and what it can teach us about their growth and renewal, and how to recapture this ambition for the creation of genuinely affordable, high quality, and climate resilient places, today.
Katy Lock, Director of Communities and FJ Osborn Fellow at the TCPA, said:
‘The New Towns were designed and delivered with principles of innovation, culture and social development in mind; to provide genuinely affordable homes and local jobs in healthy, walkable communities. But the premature end to the programme in the 1980s, and the resulting fire-sale of Development Corporation assets and no consideration given to long-term stewardship for the ambitious places that they created, has left a dual legacy of both positive ambition and betrayal…We hope the New Towns APPG will help government to learn the lessons from the past, to help existing New Towns become exemplars of inclusive sustainable living once again, and inform the creation and renewal of ambitious new places today’
One of the first activities of the group will be exploring issues of health and wellbeing in the New Towns. Updates on the work of the APPG will be available here.
Contact: Isaac LeQuesne, TCPA Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 20 8132 5455
The TCPA: The Town and Country Planning Association works to challenge, inspire and support people to create healthy, sustainable and resilient places where everyone can thrive. The TCPA has provided secretariat to the group since its inception.
The APPG was set up with three foundational objectives: to change attitudes to New Towns and gain increased recognition for them; make the case for investment in the regeneration and renewal of New Town infrastructure and other issues that specifically apply to New Towns; and positively help shape future government policy. A full list of New Town Members is available here.
- The TCPA has been exploring lessons from the New Towns over the past decade, find more here.
- The association has published A New Future for New Towns, providing an overview of some of the key lessons from the last decade of work, alongside the TCPA’s latest research into the current state of the New Towns and opportunities for their growth and renewal.
- Find the TCPA’s briefing paper Unlocking the potential of large-scale new communities here.