‘Mark One’ New Town – Designated 17 June 1949

Following the rejection, due to agricultural value and airfield operations, of Patrick Abercombie’s Greater London Plan proposals for a New Town at White Waltham, five miles to the north, Bracknell, a small market town, emerged as the favoured alternative. The Development Corporation was determined that it should be ‘a self-contained country town combining the amenities of town life with the advantages of country’. Its motto was ‘Home: Industry: Leisure’. Today, Bracknell is a major centre, having absorbed the majority of the Borough’s recent in-migration and containing three industrial areas. It has good accessibility by public transport and road and rail connections to other settlements. The town has largely been expanded to its north, east and west. Further growth will be to its south east and north.

Key facts:

  • Location: 30 kilometres south west of London, with close access to the M3 and M4. Adjacent to a large part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) (which constrains growth to the south) and much high-quality recreation and open space.
  • 2011 Census population: 64,135, in 41,518 households.
  • Local authority: Bracknell Forest Council.
  • Local Plan status: Bracknell Forest Core Strategy DPD (2008), and Site Allocations Local Plan (2013), plus saved policies from the Local Plan 2002. There has been planned additional growth since the Development Corporation was wound up, and further growth is planned.

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 17 June 1949.
  • Designated area: 753 hectares, revised twice up to 1,190 hectares.
  • Intended population: 25,000, revised to 55,000-60,000 in 1962 (population at designation: 5,000).
  • Development Corporation: The Development Corporation set itself ‘three principal objectives of close attention to people’s human needs, preservation of the town’s beautiful natural setting, and exploitation of the town’s excellent communications’. Community facilities were set at the heart of each of the town’s nine neighbourhoods. The transport system was designed to segregate roads and pedestrians/ cyclists. Development Corporation wound up 31 March 1982.

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

Council website:

Information about regeneration:

Local museums and archives:

Berkshire Record Office:

Photo Credits: Frerix, Wikimedia