‘Mark One’ New Town – Designated 11 November 1946

Stevenage was the first New Town to be designated under the New Towns Act 1946. Located in Hertfordshire, it was one of the first-wave ‘ring towns’ designed to accommodate overspill from London and create a better environment in which to live and work. The pioneer New Town (which was nicknamed ‘Silkingrad’ by early protesters in reference to Lewis Silkin, Minister of Town and Country Planning) has developed into a town with a successful economy. Stevenage Borough is a tightly bound urban authority, and the urban area reaches up to the administrative boundary in many places, and, to the north-east, spreads across into the neighbouring North Hertfordshire District. This geography creates challenges for planning for housing growth today

Key facts:

  • Location: 30 kilometres north of London, on the A1(M) and East Coast Main Line, and in close proximity to the M25 and Luton, Stansted and Heathrow Airports.
  • 2011 Census population: 83,957, in 34,898 households.1
  • Local authority: Stevenage Borough Council.
  • Local Plan status: Saved policies from Stevenage District Local Plan (adopted 2004). 

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 11 November 1946.
  • Designated area: 2,456 hectares.
  • Intended population: 60,000, revised to 80,000 ‘plus natural growth’ (population at designation: 6,700).
  • Development Corporation: Aimed to provide for the growth of industry and commerce concurrently with population to provide local employment, and to provide accommodation primarily for those working in the town, to avoid Stevenage becoming a dormitory town. Development Corporation wound up 31 March 1980. 

Figures taken from Stevenage ‘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:

Stevenage Museum: Stevenage Museum:

Stevenage Museum Collections: Stevenage Museum Collections:

Stevenage at 70:

Photo Credit: Stevenage Borough Council