A cross-party group of MPs has called on the Government to put new towns centre stage in the next Budget.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on New Towns has sent a copy of its manifesto to chancellor Phillip Hammond and urged him to give new towns the attention they deserve.
A total of 32 new towns were built across the UK between 1946 and 1970 under the New Towns Act and other pieces of legislation.
According to the APPG, more than 2.8 million people live in new towns these days, which include some of the UK’s fastest-growing and most successful.
The APPG’s manifesto calls for new towns to be included in a Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) Minister’s list of key responsibilities to help unlock their potential.
It also calls on the Government to publish a new towns prospectus to set out how they can support existing new towns to regenerate.
And the manifesto recommends ministers also review the tools and powers local authorities need to transform the town centres of new towns.
‘The new towns are some of the fastest-growing and most successful communities in the UK and have enormous potential for future growth, but they are also facing significant regeneration challenges and are home to some of the most deprived communities,’ said APPG chair, Lucy Allan.
‘The new towns’ design and architecture and strong sense of civic pride make them unique and could prove to be catalysts in their renewal.
‘However, as a result of building at speed – and, often under the constraints of the day, using cheap materials – whole estates are now in need of renewal, putting a significant burden on local authorities, while tired-looking buildings affect contemporary perceptions of what were once ambitious schemes.
‘There is a significant opportunity to turn the challenges faced by the UK’s new towns into opportunities, which is why the APPG on new towns has launched a manifesto and written to the Chancellor today,’ added Ms Allan.
The chief executive of the TCPA, Kate Henderson, which provides the secretariat for the APPG, added: ‘The post-war new towns programme was the most ambitious large-scale town-building programme ever undertaken in the UK, and today the new towns provide homes for over 2.8m people.
‘Through our research we have found councils often lack the capacity and resources to unlock the potential of the existing new towns.
‘For this reason, one of the APPG’s key asks of Government is a new towns prospectus setting out how they can support existing new town regeneration and growth through providing tailored Government support to local areas with ambitious and innovative proposals.
‘This would include capacity funding for councils along the lines of the Government’s locally-led garden villages, towns and cities programme and has the potential to ensure the revitalisation of the existing new towns goes hand-in-hand with the Government’s support for a new generation of garden communities.’