On Monday 16th July the Regulations to amend the New Towns Act 1981 to create a new, parallel route for the creation of ‘Locally-led New Town Development Corporations’ passed successfully through the House of Commons, providing a new opportunity for ambitious councils planning at scale to have a leading role in delivery. 

The TCPA has been advocating the use of modernised New Town Development Corporations to drive the delivery of highly sustainable new communities and we have spent the last 8 years exploring the lessons of what worked and what didn’t when the New Towns Act was last used. The key messages? Focus on quality, meaningful public participation, and above all the long-term stewardship of assets for the benefit of the whole community in perpetuity.

Of course, with this new opportunity comes great responsibility. While the guidance supporting the Regulations highlights these issues it is now up to those local authorities and decision-makers pursuing this route to embed the highest placemaking and environmental standards, provide a means for local voices to be heard, and ensure long-term stewardship underpins the process from the outset.

To realise the full potential of this approach we have urged the government to provide clear strategic national policy providing a framework of support for local authorities to identify need, location, and support the delivery of these high ambitions.  The National Planning Policy Framework is an obvious opportunity to outline this and support those councils pursuing strong placemaking frameworks such as the Garden City Principles.  

There remains an opportunity to modernise the core New Towns Act to maximise the opportunities of the New Towns and Garden Cities approach, but this new parallel route is welcomed as an important milestone in the campaign for a new generation of high quality, resilient and genuinely affordable new communities.

We look forward to working with government and those authorities pursuing this route to deliver on their ambition.

You can watch the debate on the Regulations at: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/7d8942d7-ef02-48d0-9aa6-9e55c817d25e