North Lanarkshire

‘Mark One’ New Town – Designated 9 December 1955

Cumbernauld was identified as a potential means of accommodating some of Glasgow’s population in Abercrombie’s Clyde Valley Plan of 1946, but was not designated until 1955. Cumbernauld was designed using a ‘whole-place approach’, consciously departing from the ‘neighbourhood’ principle adopted in the previous New Towns. Pursuing ‘urbanity’ as a ‘way of life’, it applied higher densities within fewer urban areas, with a single town centre on the hilltop. It contains some of the most notable examples of modernist architecture in the UK. It is a town of two halves, bisected by a motorway. The southern half was built with modernist low-rise in a Radburn-style layout by the Development Corporation. The northern half was developed by the private sector, with the Development Corporation acting as facilitator.

Key facts:

  • Location: 21 kilometres north east of Glasgow.
  • 2011 Census population: 52,270, in 22,105 households.1 By the 1990s Cumbernauld had grown to be North Lanarkshire’s biggest town.
  • Local authority: North Lanarkshire Council.
  • Local Plan status: North Lanarkshire Local Plan (adopted 2012).

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 9 December 1955.
  • Designated area: 1,680 hectares, revised later to 3,152 hectares.
  • Intended population: 50,000, revised to 70,000 in 1960 (population at designation: 3,000).
  • Development Corporation: Designated to accommodate Glasgow overspill population. Development Corporation wound up 31 December 1996.

Figures taken from Cumbernauld ‘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:

The records of the Cumbernauld Development Corporation (Cumbernauld New Town):

Cumbernauld Museum:

North Lanarkshire Archives:

Cumbernauld at 50:

Photo credit: Magnus Manske, Wikimedia