John Balchin discusses the issues surrounding the development of Stevenage

John Balchindiscusses the issues surrounding the development of Stevenage and how although population forecasts are important they are not always accurate.

Stevenage Museum


Interviewer:   If it was a sensible option we could see more development of Stevenage?

John:    I think that is inevitable, yes I think that is inevitable. My only regret is that instead of it being forced on you by pressures, the pressures of the event, it would have been very much better to recognise it as a reality, and plan for it from the beginning. The great merit of new town planning, had hither to always been you did your homework, you did your forecast they may have proved wrong in the event because population changes, the birth rate changes, family household size changes all this emphasis upon young people as soon as they are 17 being free to demand housing of their own, you know all these social changes that eviscerated previous forecasts but that doesn’t mean to say that forecasts are unnecessary they are necessary and what ought to have happened is that the work which the corporation did as best it might, best it might  instead of being cowed at by the opposition for really political reasons should have been accepted for what they were, best estimates. And then the land provided to meet that situation instead of as now having used up all our available land is going to be done on a scratch basis, I just regard it a regrettable. But because the corporation was a government animal, because it held down the free expression of the popularly elected representatives, we sort of by our very existence prevented the kind of rational further enlargement of the town which was necessary.

Balchin 1988

This page was added on 27/01/2016.

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