MP: Make new towns top pri­or­ity

Chan­cel­lor urged to back re­gen­er­a­tion

East Kilbride News - - NEWS - Ni­cola Find­lay

An MP is call­ing on the Chan­cel­lor to help breathe fresh life into new towns like East Kil­bride – by back­ing calls for re­gen­er­a­tion in his Au­tumn Bud­get.

East Kil­bride, Strathaven and Les­ma­hagow SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron has urged the West­min­ster gov­ern­ment to spear­head ef­forts to pri­ori­tise new towns and put them back on the map.

Dr Cameron, whose own fam­ily re­lo­cated to East Kil­bride, is also co-chair of the All Party Par­lia­men­tary Group (APPG) on New Towns which was set up to cel­e­brate their con­tri­bu­tion to the United King­dom as a whole.

Last year East Kil­bride cel­e­brated its 70th an­niver­sary of be­ing des­ig­nated Scot­land’s first new town – with sta­tus granted on May 6, 1947.

But with many of the big em­ploy­ers, like Rolls-Royce, who helped see the town grow and flour­ish now gone, chal­leng­ing times lie ahead.

How­ever, Dr Cameron and the APPG be­lieve there is a sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­nity to turn around the for­tunes of new towns – in­clud­ing East Kil­bride.

“I had a fan­tas­tic child­hood grow­ing up in East Kil­bride and I am so very proud of our new town,” she said.

“But we need to re­fo­cus gov­ern­ment on sup­port­ing re­gen­er­a­tion plans for new towns.

“The de­vel­op­ment cor­po­ra­tions did a great job in their time but this must be now spear­headed by gov­ern­ment to en­sure that new towns be­come the pri­or­ity they should be and are placed firmly back on the map.”

Dr Cameron, along with the APPG, is now call­ing on Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond to in­clude new towns in a min­istry for hous­ing; com­mu­ni­ties and lo­cal gov­ern­ment min­is­ter’s list of key re­spon­si­bil­i­ties; pub­lish a new towns prospec­tus, set­ting out how it will help ex­ist­ing new towns to re­gen­er­ate and grow and re­view the tools and pow­ers that lo­cal au­thor­i­ties need to trans­form the town cen­tres of new towns in­clud­ing the re­gen­er­a­tion of shop­ping ar­eas.

The post-war new towns pro­gramme was the most am­bi­tious large scale town-build­ing pro­gramme ever un­der­taken in the UK.

Be­tween 1946 and 1970, the New Towns Act, and sub­se­quent leg­is­la­tion in Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land, led to the des­ig­na­tion of 32 new towns across the UK.

The new town de­vel­op­ment cor­po­ra­tions had a range of bor­row­ing, plan­ning and master plan­ning pow­ers, the abil­ity to ac­quire land by com­pul­sory pur­chase and proac­tively man­age the val­ues cre­ated as the towns de­vel­oped.

To­day, the new towns pro­vide homes for over 2.8 mil­lion peo­ple and in­clude both the fastest­grow­ing and most suc­cess­ful yet also some of the most de­prived com­mu­ni­ties in the UK.

How­ever, as a re­sult of build­ing at speed – and, of­ten, un­der the con­straints of the day – whole es­tates are now in need of re­newal, putting a sig­nif­i­cant bur­den on lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, while tired-look­ing build­ings af­fect con­tem­po­rary per­cep­tions of what were once am­bi­tious plans.

Re­gen­er­a­tion The view of East Kil­bride look­ing to­wards the town cen­tre from Dun­lop Tower in The Mur­ray

Bud­get pri­or­ity A case for new towns will be made to Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond

Re­fo­cus ef­forts East Kil­bride, Strathaven and Les­ma­hagow MP Dr Lisa Cameron

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