County Durham

‘Mark One’ New Town – Designated 10 March 1948

Situated on what was the richest seam of the Durham coalfield, Peterlee was conceived to provide housing and a better living environment for the local scattered rural population and for colliery workers, and to provide a centre offering commercial, social and cultural facilities. Peterlee was named after a former colliery worker, Peter Lee, who later became a councillor campaigning for better living conditions for colliery workers. Burthold Lubetkin was originally appointed as architect-planner, but he resigned in 1950 following frustrated discussions with the National Coal Board. Located in the A19 corridor, today Peterlee is a town with a strong manufacturing base, constituting the third-largest market in County Durham. It is tightly constrained to the south, east and west.

Key facts:

Location: 14 kilometres east of Durham, 16 kilometres south of Sunderland, 19 kilometres south of Newcastle.

2011 Census population: 20,164, in 8,514 households.

Local authority: Durham County Council.

Local Plan status: Peterlee has been part of the unitary Durham County Council area since 2009. The Development Plan is the forthcoming County Durham Plan to 2035. Saved policies from Easington Local Plan (adopted 2001) are a material consideration.

New Town designation:

Designated: 10 March 1948.

Designated area: 950 hectares, revised several times up to 12,000 hectares.

Intended population: 30,000 (population at designation: 200).

Development Corporation: Aimed to provide homes and services for poor-quality and badly served settlements; to provide a recreational and commercial centre; and to develop a balanced community and provide employment for female workers and those not employed in the colliery. Development Corporation wound up 31 March 1988.

Figures taken from Peterlee ‘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:

People Past and Present Archive:

Durham Country Record Office: