East Kilbride

South Lanarkshire

‘Mark One’ New Town – Designated 6 May 1947

The first New Town to be designated in Scotland, East Kilbride was part of a plan to restructure the wider Glasgow conurbation through the dispersal of population and industry. 40% of the designated area was intended as Green Belt (in 1997 the built area consisted of about 54% of the land area). Today, East Kilbride is one of Scotland‘s largest towns. Popularity of the ‘Right to Buy’ has left a shortage of socially rented housing in East Kilbride, and it is South Lanarkshire’s most pressured housing market area. However, a number of large residential development areas will provide a mix of house types and tenures. The town centre is undergoing a major ten-year redevelopment that will see the creation of a landmark arts and culture complex, with a theatre, a conference centre, a museum, and a new town square.

Key facts:

  • Location: 21 kilometres south east of Glasgow.
  • 2011 Census population: 76,562, in 34,141 households.
  • Local authority: South Lanarkshire Council.
  • Local Plan status: South Lanarkshire Local Development Plan (adopted March 2015). South Lanarkshire is one of the eight constituent authorities covered by the Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Strategic Development Plan (adopted 2012), which is currently being replaced by the new Clydeplan, (approved July 2017).

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 6 May 1947 (provisional designation made in 1946).
  • Designated area: 4,150 hectares.
  • Intended population: 82,500 (population at designation: 2,400).
  • Development Corporation: Designated to support the redistribution of Glasgow’s population. The 1950 masterplan aimed to ‘set the best possible example in layout [and meet the] needs of the community’. East Kilbride had the longest running Development Corporation, which operated until major changes to the structure of local government in Scotland. Development Corporation wound up 31 December 1995.

Figures taken from East Kilbride ‘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:

South Lanarkshire Council Records Centre: https://www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/info/200165/local_and_family_history/588/archives_and_records/8

East Kilbride:


Photo Credits: South Lanarkshire Council 

Updated: 1st April, 2020