‘Mark One’ New Town – Designated 4 January 1949

When designated to regulate the scattered settlements of the existing Plotlands and to assist in the decentralisation of London’s population, Basildon was the most ambitious New Town in size and population. Compared with earlier-designated New Towns, initially Basildon experienced little local opposition, with under 1% of all land purchases resulting in objections (despite 13,000 negotiations with plot-holders). But there were significant levels of objection during construction as people felt their rural idyll was being swept away. Basildon’s proximity to London and location on main radial transport corridors has contributed to positive economic and industrial growth. The town is considered to have aged well, but a major, multi-site regeneration programme is under way to ensure competitiveness in the future.

Key facts:

  • Location: 50 kilometres east of London.
  • 2011 Census population: 110,762, in 45,558 households.
  • Local authority: Basildon Borough Council.
  • Local Plan status: Emerging Basildon 2031 Local Plan, with saved policies from Basildon District Local Plan (adopted 2007).

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 4 January 1949.
  • Designated area: 3,165 hectares.
  • Intended population: 80,000, revised to 86,000 in 1960, and to 140,000 in 1965 (population at designation: 25,000).
  • Development Corporation: In line with Government policy to encourage food production, 40% of the designated area was allocated for agricultural use. Development Corporation wound up 31 March 1986.

Figures taken from Basildon ‘5 minute’ fact sheet – TCPA New Towns and Garden Cities, Lessons for Tomorrow research, available here.

Council website:

Local museums and archives:

Essex Records Office Archives:

Basildon at 70:

From the archive:

Read the original designation order in this 1948 article from our the archive of our Town & Country Planning journal here.