‘Mark One’ New Town – Designated 30 June 1948

Glenrothes was designated to provide homes and community facilities for coal-mining families involved in the expansion of the East Fife coalfield, and later to act as a growth point for diversified industrial expansion. Glenrothes has grown steadily following its designation, becoming a focus for electronic and other high-tech industries. It is considered to be one of Scotland’s most successful and attractive New Towns. However, several industrial estates are now ageing and unsuitable for modern industrial and business uses. Glenrothes has recently emerged as an area of multiple deprivation. Redevelopment of the town centre, additional retail development and new business and office facilities are proposed to aid regeneration and enhance the retail and business opportunities available within the town.

Key facts:

  • Location: 27 kilometres from Edinburgh.
  • 2011 Census population: 39,277, in 16,910 households.
  • Local authority: Fife Council.
  • Local Plan status: FIFEplan: Fife’s Local Development Plan (adopted September 2017).

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 30 June 1948.
  • Designated area: 2,320 hectares.
  • Intended population: 32,000, revised to 55,000, then 45,000 (population at designation: 1,100).
  • Development Corporation: To ensure a social mix, the 1951 masterplan recommended that a maximum of 1 in 8 or 1 in 9 residents should be miners. Originally only 34% of the designated area was to be built up, with the rest to be designated as Green Belt, owned by the Development Corporation. Development Corporation wound up 31 December 1995.

Figures taken from Glenrothes ‘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:

Fife Cultural Trust Archives:

Glenrothes at 70:

Photo credit: Mcwesty at English Wikipedia