Gwen Marshall recalls her thoughts on the development of the Hemel Hempstead New Town.
Even if around the world the popularity of pedestrian town centres was increasing, Stevenage planners had to prevail against a strong opposition put up mainly by the Multiple Traders Association.
The planning of Stevenage was used by the Government as a Guinea Pig to amend the writing of the New Towns Act. Among the issues taken into consideration there was the siting of the industrial area.
Occupancy rates are calculated on old data and censuses, but people can't be expected to keep living the same way forever.
Because of the war both skills and materials were scarce when the New Town Act was approved, and this caused a long delay in the outset of the project.
The Development Corporation policy was to build prevalently traditional two-storey dwellings. The Government influenced the choice of the technique, pushing toward system building.
Devastated areas and overspill population were an enormous problem after WWII. The construction of New Towns was the easy way out, even if not the better solution probably
Different factors had to be taken into consideration for deciding where to place the centre and the roads of Stevenage. Among them: the geography of the area, the viewpoint of Old Town inhabitants and the Ministry's one, and the existing green areas that had to be preserved.
The planning of the main roads and the building of an independent cycleway network made Stevenage a safe town.
The Development Corporation and the Urban District Council didn't see eye to eye on many things.
The 10,000 neighbourhood idea was taken from the Abercrombie plan, but such neighbourhoods are too big to be communities: neighbours are strangers to each other.
'They had set up a school of regional association of planning and research in London which was attached to London University and they ran a correspondence course so by 47 I was a qualified Associate of the Town Planning Institute.'
This excerpt is about setting up a planning office in Nottingham, but it will give you an idea about how the planning offices were working in the first years.
'...They would say 'look that’s the amount of money you’ve got to build a house' if you like, 'building 600 houses that's the amount of money you’ve got.'...'
Mr Edleston has a view on modern architecture, and thinks it is best covered with climbing plants?