Central Lancashire


‘Mark Three’ New Town – Designated 26 March 1970

Central Lancashire New Town was essentially a regeneration and development programme for Preston, Leyland and Chorley. The scale of development proposed was considered to be too much for municipal delivery, so the Central Lancashire Development Corporation was designated to drive delivery – a bold move requiring tact, consultation and co-operation between seven local authorities. The Development Corporation had just a 15-year lifespan and is considered more akin to an Urban Development Corporation than a New Town Development Corporation. Central Lancashire was never intended to be recognised as a New Town in its own right. Today, Preston is a ‘Primary Urban Area’. Recognising opportunities and key links, since 2008 Preston, Leyland and Chorley Councils have been working together on a joint Local Plan.

Key facts:

Location: 38 kilometres north west of Manchester, located on the M6 motorway and the West Coast Main Line.

2011 Census population: 313,332, in 131,637 households.

Local authority: The former New Town area is split between Preston City and Chorley and South Ribble Borough Councils.

Local Plan status: Central Lancashire Joint Core Strategy (adopted 2012).

New Town designation:

Designated: 26 March 1970.

Designated area: 14,267 hectares.

Intended population: 321,500 by 1986, rising to 420,000 by 2001 (population at designation: 235,300).

Development Corporation: The outline plan, for development in a main centre (Preston) and enlarged townships (based on Leyland and Chorley), was designed to respond to changing demographic needs. The townships were to be separated by areas of open space and tree belts. Development Corporation wound up 31 December 1985.

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

Council website:


Local museums and archives:

Lancashire County Council Archives: https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries-and-archives/archives-and-record-office/

Photo credits: Geograph.co.uk