‘Mark Two’ New Town – Designated 10 April 1964

Runcorn’s masterplan aimed for ‘unity and balance’ between all of its elements, including between public and private transport. Its ‘figure of 8’ busway forms the framework around which the neighbourhood housing areas, industrial estates and parkland are laid out. Runcorn largely followed the path of the masterplan and is thus considered by many to be one of the most successful of the ‘Mark Two’ New Towns. Since 1974, Runcorn and Widnes, on the other side of the Mersey estuary (and like Runcorn formerly dominated by the chemical industries), have shared a local authority. A new (second) bridge connecting the two towns is under construction, to act as a catalyst for wider regeneration. Runcorn continues to face challenges of housing renewal, town centre regeneration and unemployment.

Key facts:

  • Location: 19 kilometres south east of Liverpool, 12 kilometres south west of Warrington, on the south bank of the Mersey.
  • 2011 Census population: 63,684, in 28, 575 households.
  • Local authority: Halton Borough Council.
  • Local Plan status: Halton Borough Council Core Strategy Local Plan (adopted 2013).

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 10 April 1964.
  • Designated area: 2,930 hectares.
  • Intended population: 45,000 set out in the masterplan, growing to 70,000 by the 1980s, with view to reaching 100,000 later (population at designation: 28,500).
  • Development Corporation: Designated to provide housing and employment for people from Liverpool and North Merseyside, exploiting the locational advantages of its site on main road and rail routes and adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal and the Mersey estuary. Using land to the east of the established town of Runcorn, the New Town was designed to be a balanced community. Development Corporation merged with Warrington Development Corporation 1 April 1981 and wound up 30 September 1989.

Figures taken from Runcorn ‘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:

Cheshire Archives & Local Studies:

Runcorn is 50:

Photo Credit: Peter I. Vardy, Wikimedia